At the annual press conference held in Moscow, on Thursday (23/12), Russian President Vladimir Putin said he did not want to seek conflict with Ukraine.
“This is our preferred decision, we don’t want to do this,” Putin said. “We are thinking about ensuring our security outlook is not just for today and next week but for the future.”
Russia has been involved in a massive military build-up on Ukraine’s borders in recent months. Western countries fear Russia could invade Ukrainian territory, similar to Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Putin optimistic about upcoming NATO talks
The Russian leader said he had received a “positive” response to the security proposals Moscow presented to its US and NATO allies. One of its demands, Russia has asked NATO to stop further expansion eastward. Ekonomi Rusia
“We saw a positive reaction. The US said they were ready to start discussions on this as early as next year,” Putin said.
Later in his speech, Putin claimed NATO had “tricked” Russia with its earlier eastward expansion and said Russia needed security guarantees “immediately”. Berita politik dan ekonomi Rusia
Meanwhile, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday (23/12) urged Russia to refrain from military action during the holiday season.
“This is a significant military upgrade and there are no signs of stopping or slowing down,” Stoltenberg told German news agency dpa. Western countries have threatened Russia with new sanctions if Moscow does order an invasion of Ukraine.
Russia blames West for escalation
Russia blames the West for increasing tensions in the region.
“Are we the ones placing the missiles near the US border?” Putin asked at his press conference. “No, it was the US who came to our homes with their missiles. They are already on our doorstep. Is there an excessive demand not to place offensive systems near our homes?” Politik Rusia
Putin also claimed the West was trying to make Ukraine “anti-Russian, by constantly adding modern weaponry and brainwashing the population.”
He said Russia was seeking “good relations” with Ukraine, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was under the influence of “radical forces”.
What else did Putin say?
The Russian leader also commented on the state of the economy in his country and the ongoing Corona virus pandemic. Politik Indonesia
The inflation rate in Russia reached 8% last month. “This is a serious problem and a serious challenge,” Putin said.
On the pandemic, Putin said he was confident Russia would achieve community immunity next year. According to the Reuters news agency, as of Thursday (23/12), the total death toll in Russia from COVID-19 passed 600,000 cases.
Putin noted that “collective immunity in Russia is currently 59.4%.” He said this percentage is not enough and the state requires an immunity level of “about 80%.”
“Hopefully next year, at least by the end of the first or second quarter, we will reach this level,” Putin said.
Moreover, Putin said Russia was not to blame for soaring gas prices in Europe and defended his government’s decision to arrest those who criticize the Kremlin.
“I remind you of what our enemies have been saying for centuries: Russia cannot be defeated, it can only be destroyed from within,” Putin said.