Putin: Russia wants to avoid conflict with West over Ukraine, but demands immediate security guarantees

Putin: Russia wants to avoid conflict with West over Ukraine, but demands immediate security guarantees

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country wants to avoid conflict with the West, but it needs an “immediate” response from the US and its allies to the Kremlin’s demands for security guarantees.

“This is not our (preferred) choice, we do not want this,” said Putin at his annual press conference on Thursday, when he was asked about the likelihood of conflict with neighboring Ukraine.

“You must give us guarantees, and immediately – now,” he said, addressing Washington and the NATO.

Russia and the US-led NATO have recently been at odds over Ukraine. Kiev, along with Western countries, accuses Moscow of preparing for an invasion of Ukraine by amassing troops and armaments near the border with that country. Moscow says it is free to move its military within its borders and that it is taking precautionary steps because of increased NATO activity near its territory.

Russia also denies preparing to wage a…

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