Amid ongoing tensions over the Ukraine issue, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow does not want a war in Europe. At the same time, he said, Russia’s demands on NATO’s military alliance with the Eastern European country must now be fully resolved.
Putin made the remarks after announcing the withdrawal of some troops from the Ukrainian border on Tuesday (February 15th), according to a report by Qatar-based Al Jazeera.
Neighboring Russia has long had about 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border. The country has also sent a fleet of warplanes, including tanks and artillery, to the Ukrainian border. There are also fears that Russian troops could invade the country at any moment. However, Moscow has repeatedly claimed that it has no plans to invade Ukraine.
However, the United States has said that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine at any time. Washington’s other allies are expressing similar concerns. U.S. intelligence agencies have even hinted that the attack could take place on Wednesday (February 18). However, the Biden administration declined to confirm a specific date.
Under the circumstances, Moscow announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn some troops from the Ukrainian border to a military base. A spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry said that “units of the various military districts in the south and west have already begun taking seats on rail and road transport and will return to military bases today.”
Russia’s defense minister also said on Tuesday that part of the army had been withdrawn to a military base after a military exercise on the border. Later, Vladimir Putin spoke at a joint news conference with visiting German Chancellor Olaf Schultz.
Russia has been told by Western nations that Ukraine will not be a member of the military alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO in the near future, the Russian president told a news conference. But he warned that this was not a guarantee of satisfaction.
In Putin’s words, “we must resolve this issue now … and we hope that our concerns (about Russia’s security) will be taken seriously.”
“Of course we don’t want a war in Europe,” he said. And that is why we are proposing to move forward through negotiations. As a result, there could be an agreement to ensure equal security for all countries, including Russia.
Meanwhile, after Putin’s remarks, US President Joe Biden said there was still a strong threat of a Russian military strike on Ukraine. He says an attack on the Eastern European country would kill scores of people and cause huge damage to Russia’s economy.
In his address to the nation, President Biden said the United States was ready to respond to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. According to him, Russia has about 150,000 troops stationed on the Ukrainian border.
However, in response to the Russian Defense Minister’s announcement that part of the army had been withdrawn to a military base after a military exercise on the border, Biden claimed that the news of the withdrawal of Russian troops had not yet been confirmed.
Washington has also demanded evidence of separate troop withdrawals.