President Vladimir Putin told French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday that the West was ignoring Moscow’s security concerns over Ukraine but added that Russia would hold off from taking action immediately.
Mr. Putin and Mr. Macron spoke by phone amid deep fears that a Russian troop build-up on the Ukrainian border is a precursor to a Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbour. Russia denies any plans to invade but has demanded security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO.
The Kremlin said in a statement that both the leaders held a “long telephone conversation” and that Mr. Putin expressed his dissatisfaction with a U.S. response to Moscow’s demands that was delivered earlier this week.
“The U.S. and NATO responses did not take into account Russia’s fundamental concerns, including preventing NATO’s expansion and refusing to deploy strike weapons systems near Russia’s borders,” Mr. Putin told Mr. Macron, according to a readout of the call from the Kremlin.
“The key question was also ignored,” Mr. Putin said, pointing to the “principle of the indivisibility of security” in international affairs, that no country should strengthen its security at the expense of others.
Mr. Putin said Russia would “carefully study” the responses “after which it will decide on further actions”.
The Elysee on Wednesday hailed as a “positive signal” talks in Paris between Russia and Ukraine — as well as France and Germany — which produced the first joint written statement on the conflict in eastern Ukraine signed up to by Moscow and Kiev since 2019.
They agreed to preserve a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine — where pro-Moscow separatists declared breakaway regions — and to hold new talks in Berlin in February.