Russia says concerns not addressed as Paris admits major disagreements

Moscow, Jan 28 (EFE).- The United States and its Nato allies failed to address Russia’s main security concerns, the Kremlin said, following a call between president Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday to discuss the rising tensions in Ukraine.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that neither the US or Nato responses to Moscow’s proposals addressed “principal Russian concerns such as prevention of Nato expansion and the rejection of deployment of offensive weapons near Russian borders.”

An Elysee Palace source confirmed that the two had had “significant disagreements” over the military buildup near the border between Russia and Ukraine, which has sparked fears of a Russian invasion, although they pledged to continue talks to try to find a peaceful solution.

According to Washington, it is the largest accumulation of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine since 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the start of a pro-Russian separatist armed conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas.

“We have very important disagreements” with Russia, an Elysee source told the press after the video conference between the two presidents Friday.

In the conversation, which lasted just over an hour, Putin “reiterated” the reasons “why we are in this situation” and repeated “his demand that Nato give Russia guarantees” about its security, he added.

Earlier on Friday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said his country does not want to go to war but would defend its interests.

“If it depends on Russia, there will be no war. We don’t want a war,” Lavrov said, “But we won’t allow (the West) to rudely ignore and trample on our interests.”

Lavrov added that the United States’ response to Russia’s list of security demands was “in many ways throwing wool over our eyes, but they contain rational seeds on secondary issues,” relating to the reinstatement of checks on short and medium-range missiles and arms controls.

The security guarantees Russia is demanding include Nato’s withdrawal of troops and weapons from eastern Europe and a ban on Ukraine from joining the alliance. EFE


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