Putin wants guarantees that NATO will not expand further east

Russian President Putin wants to assure that NATO will not expand further east or places weapons near the Russian border. That should keep Russia safe in the long run, he said when welcoming new ambassadors to the Kremlin.

Putin stressed that he wants to enter into a dialogue with NATO countries on, among other things, the enlargement stop. According to Putin, any agreements, which should have a legal basis, should be in the interests of all countries.

The Russian President made his statements at a time when tensions with Ukraine and NATO are rapidly rising. The US Secretary of State Blinken said it was โ€œdeeply concernedโ€ today about the tens of thousands of military personnel that Russia recently sent to the border area with Ukraine.

โ€œAny Russian NATO proposal is unlawfulโ€

Last week, the Ukrainian government stated that it had foiled a coup dรฉtat that would have been set up by Russia. According to President Zelensky, the coup would have taken place this week without intervention.

Today, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Koeleba responded quickly to Putins statements about NATO. According to Koeleba, Russia has no right to make such demands. Any Russian proposal when it comes to NATO is โ€œunlawful,โ€ he said.

Putin has been a long time strongly against, among other things, a possible NATO membership in Ukraine. Yesterday he spoke of a โ€œred lineโ€ when NATO sends troops to Ukraine or places weapons in the country.

Meeting Lavrov, Glinken

Putins call came at the same time as warnings from the Foreign Ministers of NATO countries, meeting in Latvia. According to them, it would be an โ€œexpensive mistakeโ€ if Russia continued to destabilize Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, reiterated that warning today.

US Minister Blinken said Russia is in the process of destabilizing Ukraine both from the inside and outside. According to him, there will be economic sanctions โ€œwith a heavy impactโ€ if Moscow decides to invade Ukraine.

Russia denies having such plans and says it is allowed to place military personnel on its own territory wherever it wants. Western reports of a possible Russian attack are false and alarming, according to Moscow. Tomorrow Blinken will meet his Russian counterpart Lavrov in Stockholm. Both have indicated that they would like to discuss tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia have been involved in a military conflict since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. In the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army face each other. There are at least 13,000 deaths, more than two million people have been fleeing.