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Putin Says U.S. Ignored Russia’s Demands – Kremlin

The Russian leader hasn't commented publicly on the Ukraine crisis in over a month. kremlin.ru

President Vladimir Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron that the United States ignored Russia’s key security demands in written responses submitted this week, the Kremlin said Friday.

The U.S. and NATO on Wednesday formally rejected Russia’s demand to permanently bar Ukraine from NATO, but outlined areas where they could increase cooperation with Moscow. 

According to the Kremlin’s readout of the two leaders' call, Putin told Macron that the U.S. and NATO also turned down his demands not to deploy attack missiles near Russian borders and to move the bloc’s military infrastructure out of Eastern Europe.

“The American and NATO responses didn’t take into account Russia’s fundamental concerns,” it said.

“The key question of how the U.S. and its allies intend to follow the principle of indivisibility of security […] was also ignored,” the Kremlin added.

Those principles, the readout stated, “stipulate that no one should strengthen their security at the expense of other countries’ security” and are formulated in past agreements with NATO and Europe’s top security body, the OSCE.

Putin told Macron that he will “carefully study” Western responses and “decide on further actions.”

Putin previously warned of “military-technical” measures in response to what he perceives as threatening Western maneuvers.

His Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier Friday repeated Moscow's warnings of retaliation if its demands are rejected. But Lavrov also struck a relatively more optimistic note, suggesting that the sides could continue dialogue after the letters from the U.S. and NATO.

Moscow has amassed some 100,000 troops close to the border with Ukraine and in annexed Crimea. A series of military exercises in western Russia, as well as its announcement of surprise drills with neighboring Belarus, has fueled tensions further.

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