Russia-Ukraine, Putin does not flinch: “If the West is aggressive, we will respond”

from Fabrizio Dragosei

US and NATO seek dialogue with the Russian leader. Phone call with Scholz, “worried”: call for de-escalation

Both on Ukraine and on the former Eastern countries now members of NATO Russia is unwilling to step back. «If our Western interlocutors continue with this aggressive line, we will take proportional military-technical countermeasures and respond firmly to unfriendly steps, ”said Vladimir Putin in a speech broadcast on TV. The Kremlin has no intention of invading Ukraine: it wants to discussing with the United States and European countries to resolve existing conflicts diplomatically. What spoke to the military leaders yesterday is a particularly frank Putin. Your country has just presented one draft agreement with requests aimed at ensuring their safety. Because this is the real point, according to the Russian leader: the expansion of the Atlantic Alliance, the movement of nuclear missiles near the borders of Russia are a real and unacceptable threat, a bit like when Khrushchev in 1962 secretly placed bombs in Cuba, 150 kilometers off the coast of the United States. “If the missile systems appear in Ukraine, their flight time to Moscow would be reduced to 7-10 minutes and, with the use of hypersonic weapons, it would drop to five minutes.”

The game is therefore that of tranquility of Russia, a problem that now seems to be recognized also by the American administration and by the NATO summit. Alliance Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has announced a resumption of relations with Moscow for the beginning of 2022. And Washington added that the US is ready to discuss Russian demands. The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in his first phone call with Putin, expressed “concern” for the Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and stressed the “urgent need” for de-escalation. It is clear that the West will not be able to accept an agreement that explicitly prohibits Ukraine or Georgia from joining NATO. But it is quite another to offer Russia guarantees for its safety. Everything will then have to develop within a framework of substantial restart of the peace negotiations to put an end to the civil war in the former Soviet country.

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