May 18, 2022 5:39 am

“We do not want wars”: Russia sends a message for a de-escalation of tension with the West over Ukraine

MOSCOW.- Russia he sent his friday strongest signal yet that it is willing to participate in US security proposals and reiterated that does not want a war for Ukraine.

“If it depends on Russia, then there will be no war. We don’t want wars. But we will not allow our interests to be rudely trampled on, ignored either,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview on Russian radio.

Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border, while pressing for redesign post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe.

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on January 22, 2022.Efrem Lukatsky – AP

The United States and its allies have warned the president Vladimir Putin that Russia will face swift and harsh economic sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.

Lavrov said that the West is ignoring Russia’s interests, but that there is at least “something” in the written responses submitted by Washington and NATO on Wednesday to the Russian proposals.

Although the answers have not been made public, both have stated that are willing to talk with Moscow on arms control and confidence measures. They have ruled out agreeing to other demands, such as that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO.

Lavrov said he hopes to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again in the next two weeks.

He also said, without giving details, that the US counterproposals are better than NATO’s. Russia is studying them and Putin will decide how to respond.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir PutinEPA

The comments were among the most conciliatory that Moscow has made on the Ukraine crisis, which has become one of the most tense arm wrestling between East and West since the end of the Cold War three decades ago.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, said on Friday that his country has no interest in waging a war and that the conflict will only break out if Belarus or Russia are attacked directly.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron was scheduled to speak by phone with Putin on Friday.

“It is up to Putin to say if he wants consultations or confrontation”French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio, asking whether the Russian leader wants to lead a “destabilizing power” or seek de-escalation.

The Kremlin said it did not rule out Putin offering some Russian assessments of the Western response to his proposals during the conversation.

Reuters and AP agencies

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