Russia is pessimistic after the US, NATO responds to Putin’s request on Ukraine


Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev took a softer stance when he also insisted on Thursday that Russia and the United States must engage in diplomacy to avoid war.

Medvedev, a trusted ally of Putin, who served as president from 2008-2012, told the state news agency Ria that “it is clear here that the most important and only real path to consensus on security guarantees.”

He added that the idea of ​​a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO over Ukraine would be a “catastrophic scenario”. “I just hope it never happens,”

Russia held talks in Paris on Wednesday with diplomats from Ukraine, France and Germany aimed at easing tensions in the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine, in which Moscow is supporting separatists. pro-Russia against Kyiv’s forces in the region.

There was no breakthrough after the eight-hour talks, but the sides agreed to convene again in Berlin, Germany after two weeks.

This “means that Russia for the next two weeks is likely to remain on the diplomatic track,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday.

But in the diplomatic context, Russia continues to expand its military presence near its border with Ukraine, intelligence and defense officials told NBC News.

Officials say there are now 62 Russian tactical battalions in the region, up from 59 this time last week – with several more in the works. This does not include Russian forces concentrated in Belarus. Moscow and Minsk, a close Russian ally, said the troop movement was for joint exercises next month, but stationing troops along Ukraine’s other borders makes it possible for multiple forces to join an action. potential military, officials said.

Intelligence officials have repeatedly said they do not know if Putin is determined to invade Ukraine, but they continue to assess the growing possibility of aggression as the crisis continues without a resolution. diplomatic.

Courtney Kube and Ken Dilanian contribute. Russia is pessimistic after the US, NATO responds to Putin’s request on Ukraine

Jake Nichol

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