Putin: Russia ready to negotiate missile deployments, transparency

Russia At War

(NewsNation Now) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow is ready for talks with the U.S. and NATO on limits for missile deployments and military transparency.

Speaking after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin said the U.S. and NATO rejected Moscow’s demand to keep Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations out of NATO, halt weapons deployments near Russian borders and roll back alliance forces from Eastern Europe.

They agreed to discuss a range of security measures that Russia had previously proposed.

Putin said that Russia is ready to engage in talks on limits on the deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe, transparency of drills and other confidence-building measures but emphasized the need for the West to heed Russia’s main demands.

Russia said Tuesday that some units participating in military exercises would begin returning to their bases, adding to glimmers of hope that the Kremlin may not be planning to invade Ukraine imminently, though it gave no details on the pullback.

It wasn’t immediately clear where exactly the troops that the Russian Defense Ministry said were pulling back were deployed or how many were leaving, making it hard to understand the significance. The announcement pushed world markets and the ruble up, but Ukraine’s leaders expressed skepticism.

“Russia constantly makes various statements,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. “That’s why we have the rule: We won’t believe when we hear, we’ll believe when we see. When we see troops pulling out, we’ll believe in de-escalation.”

Russia has massed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine, sparking the fears of an invasion. Russia denies it has any plans to invade Ukraine, despite placing troops on Ukraine’s borders to the north, south and east and launching massive military drills nearby.

This morning, in what seemed to be a bit of last-ditch negotiation, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

More U.S. troops are now deploying to Poland, as U.S. officials warn an invasion could begin “at any time” causing “widespread human suffering” in Eastern Europe. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is traveling to the region today to meet with allied defense ministers while the U.S. moves all diplomats out of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, closing the embassy.

Biden administration officials have been warning that Russia could execute a “false flag” operation to justify an attack on Ukraine, fabricating a scenario in which Ukraine is the aggressor. Senators spoke on the topic Monday after being briefed by the national security adviser.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said, “The idea that there could be some phony pretext created by the Russians, that would be a false flag operation. If there’s violence in Ukraine, that would be caused by Russia.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued to downplay the Russian threat, at one point Monday joking that the invasion would happen “tomorrow.” U.S. intelligence says the invasion could happen as early as this week.

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