Putin considers options if the West rejects Ukrainian guarantees

Earlier this month, Russia proposed to NATO to sign an agreement on security guarantees that would prevent countries from the former Soviet Union from joining the organization.

Moscow made the proposal in a climate of tension over a Russian troop surge near the Ukrainian border in recent weeks, which has raised Western fears of a possible invasion.

US President Joe Biden warned Putin in a video call in early December that Russia would face “serious consequences” if it attacked Ukraine.

For its part, Russia denied its intention to launch an invasion and accused Ukraine of developing plans to try to regain control of the rebel-held territory backed by Moscow, which Ukraine rejected.

On Saturday, more than ten thousand Russian soldiers returned to their bases after a month of exercises in southern Russia, especially near the Ukrainian border, in the escalation of tension.

Putin urged the West to move quickly to meet his demands, warning that Moscow would have to take “appropriate technical-military measures” if the West continued its “aggressive” course at the country’s “doorstep”.

In response to a question about determining Moscow’s response, Putin said in comments broadcast on Russian state television, “It may be different.”

“It will depend on the proposals that our military experts send me,” he added.

The United States and its allies refused to offer the kind of guarantee Putin wanted for Russia, citing the NATO principle that membership is open to any eligible country. But they agreed to start security talks with Russia next month to discuss their concerns.

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Putin said negotiations with the United States would take place in Geneva. At the same time, negotiations are also scheduled between Russia and NATO and broader discussions are expected under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

In his televised remarks today, Putin said that Russia presented its proposal in the hope of obtaining a constructive response from the West.

The Russian leader added: “We did not do it just to see it blocked … but with the aim of reaching a negotiated diplomatic outcome to be specified in legally binding documents.”

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