Wednesday, January 19

Putin gives signs of de-escalation in Ukraine to favor security dialogue with the US and NATO


Correspondent in Moscow

Updated:

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After beating the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, submitted on Thursday, during his great annual press conference, to the Kiev authorities, whom he once again accused of all the evils that had occurred and for having, now has made a gesture of de-escalation with the withdrawal of 10,000 soldiers from the border area with Ukraine. In his recent media appearance, Putin announced that in early 2022 there will be talks in Geneva with Washington and NATO to discuss the security demands presented by Moscow as a condition for ending the current tensions around Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry published this Saturday on its website a statement reporting the withdrawal of some 10,000 soldiers who had been deployed in exercises along the border with Ukraine, in Crimea and in the Rostov-on-Don region, and the return to their barracks.

The note explains that this 10,000-strong contingent, an insignificant number considering that the Russian Army is estimated to have nearly 200,000 military personnel in the immediate vicinity of Ukraine, carried out “combat training practices” for a month. . And he adds that “in order to guarantee the maintenance of the alert situation during the holidays in the military sites of the southern military district, guard units, reinforcements and forces will be assigned to face possible emergency situations.”

On Thursday, the Russian president said he observed a “positive” attitude on the part of Washington and Brussels to his demands on security. “Representatives have already been appointed by both parties,” he assured, in anticipation of the meetings scheduled in January with EE.UU. and the Atlantic Alliance.

Vladimir Putin, last Thursday during his end of the year press conference
Vladimir Putin, last Thursday during his end-of-year press conference – Reuters

In the proposals on “security guarantees”, contained in two separate documents and presented on December 17, Moscow demands, among other things, that Ukraine not become part of the OTAN nor any other state of its surroundings, limit the presence of the Western military bloc in the Eastern countries and prohibit the emplacement of missiles medium-range and nuclear weapons in the Old Continent.

And, last Tuesday, Putin brandished the threat to carry out actions of a “military and technical” nature if such security proposals are ignored. The following day, a spokesman for the US State Department stated that “Russia continues to escalate and has not stopped reinforcing its military presence” on the border.

For her part, the White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, reiterated that “any new aggression against Ukraine will have serious consequences (…) we strongly urge Russia to initiate a de-escalation by withdrawing its troops from the border with Ukraine.”

“Our goal is de-escalation through diplomacy. In the United States there is a willingness to take diplomatic channels in January through various channels, “added Psaki. In his words, “there is already a line of communication and diplomatic contact open and we hope that it will be maintained.”

Ukrainian leaders, however, do not see the tension easing with a simple withdrawal of 10,000 soldiers. In Kiev estimated at 122,000 Russian military deployed about 200 kilometers from the frontera, to which are added another 143,000 located at a distance of 400 kilometers.

Truce with the separatists

But Putin believes that those fueling the tension are the Kiev authorities. «We are told: war, war, war. One has the impression that a third Ukrainian military operation may be being prepared »to recover Donbassthe Kremlin chief said on Thursday. Later, on Friday, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zajárova, came to the fore to continue launching accusations. “Instead of ending the civil war, Kiev seems to be preparing to resolve the so-called Donbass problem by force,” he said. In relation to the truce agreed on Wednesday between Ukraine and the separatist rebels of the two rebel republics of Donbass, Donetsk and Luhansk, Zajárova expressed the wish that Kiev “will fulfill the agreement.”

Moscow accuses Kiev of not complying with the Minsk agreements and of having sent half of all its troops. At the beginning of the month, Putin denounced the discrimination that, according to him, the population of the rebel territories suffers. “It is the first step towards genocide,” he warned. The top Russian leader believes that the one who encourages Kiev to regain Donbass by force is Washington, but has never explained who instigated Russia to bring Chechen separatists under control in the two wars in the 1990s and after the appointment Putin as prime minister in August 1999.

The former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said on Friday in statements to the RIA-Nóvosti agency that it is precisely U.S the culprit of the current confrontation with Russia. “The arrogance, the self-satisfaction went to their heads. They proclaimed themselves the winners of the Cold War, when we had saved the world from confrontation together, ”estimates Gorbachev. In his opinion, the West wanted to “build a new empire and thus the idea of ​​expanding NATO arose,” a point of view that largely coincides with Putin’s position on the matter, who on Thursday maintained that the West “blatantly deceived” Russia when, after the disintegration of the USSR, “NATO promised not to expand” to the east.

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