Russia has 'right to defend security’: Putin
After holding a big one-on-one video call with US President Joe Biden, Putin affirms that Russia pursues a peaceful foreign policy, but has the right to defend its security.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday Moscow pursues a peaceful foreign policy but has the right to defend its security in the medium and long term.
Speaking publicly for the first time since his talks with US President Joe Biden, the Russian president added that his recent online meeting with US President Joe Biden was "open and constructive."
"The conversation was open, substantive, and constructive... We have the opportunity to continue this dialogue, it seems to me… this is the most important thing," Putin stressed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden concluded Tuesday their two-hour virtual summit that discussed regional files, including developments in Ukraine.
Talks were "frank"
Kremlin described the talks as "frank" and said the Russian president requested Washington to provide guarantees NATO would not continue its eastward expansion.
"Russia is seriously interested in obtaining reliable legal guarantees that will exclude NATO's eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive strike weapons in countries adjacent to Russia," the statement mentioned.
According to the Kremlin, Putin proposed to his US counterpart Joe Biden that Moscow and Washington lift all restrictions on embassy staff in both countries.
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told reporters Putin informed his US counterpart Biden of Ukraine's failure to comply with the Minsk agreements.
“Our president informed [Biden] in sufficient detail about how Kyiv fails to fulfill the relevant Minsk agreements. It was said directly that Ukraine sabotages the Minsk implementation. In addition, it sabotages the agreements reached within the framework of the Normandy Four summit, delays the negotiation process in the contact group, and seeks to exclude Donbas from the negotiation process," Ushakov said following the leaders' talks.
Biden expressed "deep concerns" to Putin over Ukraine, stressing that the United States and its allies would impose large-scale economic sanctions on Russia should it invade Ukraine.
This is the fifth conversation between Putin and Biden since the latter took office.
France warns Russia of 'massive' consequences
France on Wednesday warned Moscow it would face "strategic and massive consequences" if Russia attacked Ukraine.
"Strong messages were sent to Russia that a new attack on the territorial integrity of Ukraine would have strategic and massive consequences," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Russia has constantly denied news reports in the US media about a possible attack on Ukraine, accusing Washington of trying to escalate the situation and casting the blame on Moscow.