Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) has called on allies to allow imports of defensive weapons
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that he wants “immediate” talks with the United States and NATO over security guarantees, as tensions soar between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.
The US and its allies have for weeks accused Russia of planning an invasion of its neighbour, warning of a massive coordinated sanctions response should Putin launch an attack.
In a phone call with the Finnish president — whose country has traditionally served as middle ground between Russia and the West — Putin said he wanted security talks to begin without delay.
Russia’s demands, it said, included stopping NATO from expanding east and the deployment of weapons in neighbouring states, including Ukraine.
In his call with the Finnish president, Putin also accused the Ukrainian leadership of increasingly using “heavy weapons and attack drones” against pro-Russia rebels in its separatist east.
– Black Sea tensions –
The EU and the G7 met in recent days to coordinate what they warn would be an unprecedented economic sanctions regime if Russia attacks.
“The lack of progress towards a political-diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to the fact that we will respond militarily,” Ryabkov told the RIA Novosti state news agency.
Berlin holds one of the most important cards in the sanctions deck, if it decides that Putin’s actions warrant blocking the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Putin has accused the West of provoking tensions in the Black Sea — a sensitive region for Russia, which controls the Crimean peninsula after annexing it from Ukraine in 2014.
– Ukraine accuses Germany –
“Our aim is to support Ukraine as we work to de-escalate tensions due to Russia’s build-up,” Donfried said in Kiev Tuesday, where she began her tour.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, accused Kiev’s ally Germany of blocking supply of NATO weapons to the country.
“Don’t we have the right to have them in the eighth year of the war? Obviously, we do,” he added.
Kiev’s use of Turkish-made Bayraktar drones in October was met with criticism from Russia and some of its Western allies, including France and Germany.
“Is Russian society ready to pay with the lives of its sons for the attempt to occupy another part of Ukraine?” he asked.
Originally published as Putin wants ‘immediate’ talks with NATO on Russia’s security
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