Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin officially commented on the escalation of the Ukraine crisis for the first time yesterday. However, his warnings were not new: he again accused the West of ignoring Russia’s security interests. At the same time, the Russian President complained that the West was not paying attention to the principle of “indivisibility of security” in Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had to deny all reports: “Something got mixed up,” he said. Russia has not yet given an official response to the US response to Moscow’s demands for security guarantees in Europe. The Russian letter to the US side is only being prepared.
The US State Department had previously confirmed receipt of the Russian letter, but did not provide any information about its content. “It would be unproductive to negotiate in public,” said Washington. As it later turned out, this alleged letter was just a general message from Foreign Minister Lavrov about the “principle of the indivisibility of security.”
Apparently the Kremlin wants to wait for further diplomatic efforts. The mediation attempts are in full swing: Yesterday the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was in Moscow. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the Russian head of state and the head of government of a NATO member state since the escalation between Russia and the West in the Ukraine conflict. “We are ready to reach a reasonable agreement,” Orban said, adding that “no European leader wants war”. Above all, Orban was trying to score points in the middle of his own election campaign with Putin’s help on energy prices.
A phone call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US colleague Tony Blinken was also not very successful.
Meanwhile, Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron explored the possibility of a face-to-face meeting. The two maintain close contacts in the conflict, France also holds the EU Council Presidency.
Europe behind Ukraine
Europe once again sided with Kiev. Yesterday, the EU Commission decided on another 1.2 billion euro support package. Poland’s Prime Minister Morawiecki and British Prime Minister Johnson also demonstrated their support in Kiev.
But the fear of war is growing: According to the US government, Russia has strengthened its troops on the border with Ukraine. “More Russian ground forces are deployed in Belarus and on the border with Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.