As Russia and Ukraine began military exercises, Russian President Vladimir Putin, praised his diplomats and underscored his demand for “legally enforceable security guarantees” from the United States and NATO.
In a statement on Thursday, Putin said he was confident Russia’s foreign ministry would strengthen the country’s “positions on the world stage” but warned of increasing global tension.
Putin’s remarks coincided with Russia and Belarus launching 10 days of joint military drills. Ukraine’s army is conducting drills in the same period, in response to the Russian war games.
Meanwhile, diplomatic attempts aimed at averting a feared Russian invasion are faltering. After British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, met Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow on Thursday, the Russian foreign minister said UK representatives came “unprepared”.
Russia denies it is planning an attack, but Kyiv and its Western allies have been spooked by Moscow’s massing of more than 100,000 soldiers near Ukraine.
EU delivers collective reply to Russian security proposals
The European Union says it has delivered a collective response to Russia’s proposals to member states on European security.
A spokesman for the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, told a regular news briefing that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, had decided to reply to Moscow on behalf of all 27 member states in order to demonstrate unity.
Russia’s embassy to the EU said in a statement that it had received the letter, the contents of which were not made public by either side.
Lavrov had earlier warned that a collective response from the EU to his correspondence to all of the bloc’s member states at the end of January would lead to a breakdown in talks