MOSCOW, Dec 24, (Asia Free Press): Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow wants to avoid any conflict with Ukraine and the West, demanding an “immediate” response from the United States and its allies for security guarantees, according to media reports.
Putin was plied with lots of questions about the risk of conflict with Ukraine in the annual news conference as Ukraine is at the center of soaring East-West tensions after the United States and Kyiv accused Russia of weighing a new attack on its southern neighbour.
Putin, while responding to reporters, said, “this is not our (preferred) choice; we do not want this”.
Putin said Russia had received a generally positive initial response to security proposals it handed to the United States this month designed to defuse the crisis. He was hopeful about the prospect for negotiations, which he said would start early next year in Geneva, reported Reuters.
Tensions over Ukraine have pushed Moscow’s relations with the West to their lowest point since the collapse of the Soviet Union some 30 years ago.
The United States, the European Union, and the Group of Seven have all warned Putin that he will face “massive consequences”, including tough economic sanctions in the event of any new Russian aggression.
A Biden-Harris administration official in a call with reporters said Washington had taken note of the concerns that Moscow has raised and was ready to engage with Russia as soon as early January, but a specific date and location were yet to be set.