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Ukraine: Putin Says US Ignoring Russian Concerns; India Neutral in UNSC Clash

Putin said that Russia is ready for dialogue, but there are three demands that are non-negotiable.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

Russian President Vladimir Putin, breaking a month of public silence regarding the Ukraine crisis, has accused the United States of ignoring the security concerns of his country, while talking to journalists about the unsatisfactory US response to Russian demands.

There are three key demands that Putin is talking about here.

  • The removal of NATO troops and infrastructure from Eastern European countries that joined the alliance after 1997

  • A guarantee that NATO would never induct Ukraine into the alliance

  • A guarantee to not install missile systems on Russia’s borders.

"It's already clear … that Russia’s principal concerns were ignored," Putin said.

He also accused the US and NATO of using Ukraine as a "tool to hinder Russia".

Putin claimed that Russia is ready for dialogue, but those three demands are non-negotiable.

He also refused to rule out of the possibility of war.

"I hope that we will, eventually, find a solution, though not an easy one. We are aware of that. But for now I am not prepared, of course, to say that it will be [found]," he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov, that the US was prepared for a "substantive exchange with Russia on mutual security concerns", but only in exchange for an "immediate Russian de-escalation and the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Ukraine’s borders."

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The UNSC Meeting

The representatives of the United States and the Russian Federation clashed at the United Nations Security Council during their meeting over the Ukraine crisis on 31 January.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield argued that the mobilisation of Russian troops was the largest that Europe had seen in decades, probably a reference to the Second World War.

"This is the largest... mobilisation of troops in Europe in decades. And as we speak, Russia is sending even more forces and arms to join them."

Greenfield then provided the numbers to back her claims, stating that

  • 2,000 rail cars were being used by the Russians to move troops

  • 5,000 Russian troops had been moved into Belarus

  • 30,000 troops, according to US intel, would be amassed near the Belarus-Ukraine border in less than two months

Her Russian counterpart on the other hand, Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, accused the US of exaggerating the situation and of unnecessarily making the world panic.

Nebenzya accused the US of "whipping up tensions and rhetoric, and provoking escalation", and went on to say that "this isn't just unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of our state, it's also an attempt to mislead the international community about the true situation in the region and the reasons for the current global tensions."

He also warned that actions taken by Russia's "western partners", that is, NATO and the US, might lead to Ukraine destroying itself.

"If our western partners push Kyiv to sabotage the Minsk agreements, something that Ukraine is ... willingly doing, then that might end in the absolute worst way for Ukraine. And not because somebody has destroyed it, but because it would have destroyed itself and Russia has absolutely nothing to do with this."

India's Neutrality at the UNSC

India proceeded with caution in the UNSC meeting over Ukraine.

Talking about the "legitimate security interests", India’s Permanent Representative at the Security Council, TS Tirumurti, called for "immediate de-escalation of tensions".

"India’s interest is in finding a solution that can provide for immediate de-escalation of tensions taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond."
TS Tirumurti

This is India's second statement concerning the Ukraine crisis.

The first one came on Friday, 28 January, in which the Ministry of External Affairs had called for a "peaceful resolution" of the situation via "sustained diplomatic efforts" for the sake of the regions' "long-term peace and stability".

While the Indian government is closely allied to the US, it cannot afford to anger the Kremlin.

After all, more than half of India's military supplies are manufactured in Russia, a relationship that goes way back to the era of the Soviets.

At a time when Sino-Indian tensions at India's eastern borders show no signs of resolution, any move by India that alienates Russia might prove to be costly, at least in its military and geopolitical aspects.

The US will also play a role in whatever happens to India–Russia relations.

It recently accused Russia of playing a "destabilising role" in South Asia by selling the S-400 missile defence system to India.

Additionally, at the UNSC meeting, when Russia and China tried to block discussions regarding Ukraine, India along with Kenya and Gabon, abstained from the vote, an explicit show of neutrality on the matter.

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What are the UK and France Saying?

Vladimir Putin spoke to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in what was the second telephone conversation between the Russian and French presidents in less than a week.

"The two leaders agreed to continue contacts by telephone and to promptly consider the possibility of meeting in person," the Kremlin stated.

The office of the French president, on the other hand, said that the call was part of "the same logic of de-escalation" that had guided previous conversations between the two governments.

The United Kingdom is continuing to warn Europe regarding Russia's intentions in Eastern Europe.

Accusing Putin of holding a gun to Ukraine’s head in order to pull the strings of European security, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he was not hyping up "the clear and present danger."

"We see large numbers of troops massing, we see preparations for all kinds of operations that are consistent with an imminent military campaign," he added.

Stressing on Putin's perspective on Europe, Johnson said "it’s about the whole European security architecture, because be in no doubt about what I think President Putin is trying to achieve here. I think that he is trying, by holding a gun as it were to the head of Ukraine, by intimidating Ukraine, to get us to change the way we look at (European security)."

Johnson and Putin would reportedly have a talk on Wednesday, 2 February.

(With inputs from BBC, Reuters, and The Guardian)

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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