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US, NATO ignore Russia’s principal security concerns: Putin

The US and NATO ignored Moscow’s principal concerns in their responses to the country’s proposals on security guarantees, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Though the Russian leadership is still examining the documents it received from Washington and Brussels, it is clear that they lack an adequate response to Moscow’s three key demands, Putin said at a news conference after a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Speaking in Moscow, Putin noted that these three demands were for NATO to stop expanding eastward, written guarantees against the deployment of strike weapons near Russia’s borders, and the return of NATO’s military infrastructure in Europe to their 1997 positions.

Speaking about the situation in Ukraine amid increased tensions, Putin said that by posing threats against Russia, this country creates risks for itself.

He said Ukraine was a tool being used to contain Russia for the US, accusing Washington of trying to engage Moscow in an armed conflict.

The president asserted that Russia wanted to avoid negative developments around Ukraine, but said that for this to be possible, all sides’ interests needed to be taken into account in efforts to find a solution.

“It is necessary to find a way to provide security of all — Russia’s, the EU’s, Ukraine’s,” he said.

He said he hoped that a solution could be found to the problem of security guarantees, though it would be difficult to discern what such a solution would look like.

For his part, Hungary’s Orban said he believes the differences between Russia and the US and NATO could be settled.

Russia in December presented the US and NATO with a proposal on providing security guarantees in Europe that it says would take into account its interests.

On Jan. 27, after a series of talks, the US and NATO handed the Russian Foreign Ministry their written responses to the proposals.