Russia, United States create body to deal with Ukraine crisis

US President Joe Biden has suggested creating a body to deal with Ukraine issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Russia is extremely concerned about Ukraine’s prospects for NATO membership and has every reason to expect NATO’s military infrastructure to be deployed to Russia’s borders if Ukraine becomes a member NATO, Putin said at a press conference in Sochi after a meeting with the Greek prime minister. Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

It would be “criminal inaction” on the part of the Russian authorities to do nothing in such a situation, the president stressed.

“Russia pursues a peaceful foreign policy, but it has the right to ensure its security. We are discussing this with all of our partners, including the President of the United States. We can only be concerned about the prospect of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, as this will certainly be followed by the deployment of relevant contingents, bases and weapons there, threatening us, “he said. he declared.

Russia hopes its concerns will be heard despite the negative experience of the past decades when NATO facilities moved closer to Russian borders despite demands made against it, he said.

“We have agreed to create an appropriate structure that will be able to deal with this in detail and submit relevant proposals. This idea was formulated by the US president, and I have endorsed it. In the near future, we will present our reflections and our proposals on this subject, “he said.

Putin confirmed that the Ukrainian conflict took an important place in his conversation with Biden on Tuesday.

“Biden and I talked about regional issues, the conflict in the south-eastern Ukraine and the related topic of expanding the NATO bloc to the east, … that’s one of the big issues. to ensure the security of Russia.

“Each country has the right to choose an acceptable way of providing security, but it must be done in a way that does not undermine the security of other states, in this case Russia. We believe that security should be comprehensive and apply to everyone, ”he said.

Besides Ukraine, the two presidents also discussed cybersecurity. According to Putin, Russia and the United States made progress on this file after the Geneva meeting in June.

The normalization of diplomatic relations and the re-establishment of the Iran nuclear deal were also among the topics discussed.

Issues discussed during the Poutine-Mitsotakis meeting

Asked what Moscow thinks about Greece’s NATO membership, Putin said that does not prevent Greece and Russia from developing bilateral ties.

“NATO is a military bloc which clearly pursues a conflicting policy towards Russia, declaring Russia its adversary. We are not looking for confrontation. We hope that Greece will take a balanced position on this issue. In any case, the accession of Greece to alliances has never hampered the development of our relations ”, he declared.

As for Greco-Turkish tensions, Putin said he starts from the fact that any issues that arise will be resolved through dialogues between Athens and Ankara.

Regarding Libya, he said he expects the elections to be held on time, leading to stabilization and the search for an appropriate solution for all parties.

For his part, Mitsotakis accused Turkey of using “aggressive rhetoric” regarding the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, but said the issue of border demarcation, including the territorial affiliation of the islands, can be discussed in one. direct dialogue with Ankara.

“Our wish is to carry out an energetic dialogue and of non-violation of the territorial integrity of our countries, including the resolution of the Cyprus question”, he declared.

Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, Mitsotakis expressed the hope that there will be no serious clashes, while Greece is interested in the solution of the crisis as many Greeks live in the region.

“Our common goal is to adopt some kind of roadmap to reduce tensions, because if tensions exist, they can set us back decades,” the prime minister said.

He agreed with Putin that Greece’s membership does not affect Athens’ desire to build a “constructive relationship” with Russia.

Mitsotakis also urged Libya to seize the opportunity to hold elections which will have a positive effect on resolving the crisis in the country.

Christi C. Elwood