Putin to mull options if West refuses guarantees

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Putin to mull options if West refuses guarantees

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he would ponder a slew of options if the West fails to meet his push for security guarantees precluding Nato’s expansion to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Moscow submitted draft security documents demanding that Nato deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries and roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.

Putin has urged the West to move quickly to meet the demands, warning that Moscow will have to take “adequate military-technical measures” if the West continues its “aggressive” course “on the threshold of our home.”

Asked to specify what such Moscow’s response could be, he said in comments aired by Russian state TV on Sunday that “it could be diverse,” adding without elaboration that “it will depend on what proposals our military experts submit to me”.

In remarks broadcast on Sunday, Putin said that Russia submitted the demands in the hope of a constructive answer from the West.

“We didn’t do it just to see it blocked ... but for the purpose of reaching a negotiated diplomatic result that would be fixed in legally binding documents,” Putin said. He reaffirmed that Nato membership for Ukraine or the deployment of alliance weapons there is a red line for Moscow that it wouldn’t allow the West to cross.

Separately, Russia has received a Nato proposal to commence talks on Moscow’s security concerns on Jan. 12 and is considering it, TASS news agency reported on Sunday.

“We have already received this (Nato) offer, and we are considering it,” TASS quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

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