Amid rising tensions between the US and Russia over the Ukraine conflict, President Vladimir Putin plans to take questions from journalists on Tuesday.
A press conference is planned after a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax agency. He did not name a specific time. Orban is the first prime minister of an EU and NATO member country to meet Putin in person during the current crisis.
Earlier on Friday and Monday, the Kremlin chief had phoned French President Emmanuel Macron about Russia’s demands for guarantees of security in Europe. According to the Kremlin, a face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state is being prepared. France is also currently holding the EU Council Presidency.
Russia sees its security threatened by NATO and is therefore demanding an end to eastward expansion and a waiver of Ukraine’s inclusion in the military alliance. To this end, the nuclear power has addressed a list of demands to the West. NATO and the US reject Russia’s core concerns, but have offered written replies to engage in dialogue. In turn, the Russian answer is pending, as the Kremlin announced.
In Ukraine itself, visits by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte were on the agenda on Tuesday. The Netherlands had previously expressed its willingness to supply arms to Ukraine. Poland supplies drones and man-portable anti-aircraft missiles of its own production. This can be used to shoot down helicopters. Johnson has already had weapons delivered.
With a massive Russian troop buildup near Ukraine, there are fears in the West that the Kremlin may be planning an invasion. Moscow denies that. It is also considered possible that fears are being fueled in order to persuade the NATO states to make concessions on new security guarantees. (dpa)