Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US of attempting to drag Russia into a conflict in his first big comments on the Ukraine crisis in several weeks on Tuesday.
Putin spoke during a press conference in Moscow following a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. "It appears to me that the United States is not so concerned about the security of Ukraine... but its major aim is to contain Russia's development," he said, according to the BBC. In this respect, Ukraine is merely an instrument for achieving this goal."
He has warned that allowing Ukraine to join NATO risks dragging other NATO members into a confrontation with Russia. "Imagine Ukraine joining NATO and launching a military attack to reclaim Crimea... So, are we going to fight alongside NATO? Has anyone considered this? "It appears that they haven't," according to the BBC.
On the question of NATO's eastward expansion, Putin referred to the alliance's history of "deceptions." "They said one thing and did another," CNN reported. He added: "They messed us over, or to put it another way, they tricked us."
He claimed that the West was neglecting "basic Russian concerns" about Ukraine. "Adequate consideration of our three key demands regarding NATO expansion, renunciation of the deployment of strike weapons systems near Russian borders, and return of the [NATO] bloc's military infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997, when the Russia-NATO founding act was signed," according to CNN.
Putin, on the other hand, expressed optimism that the problem could be resolved through negotiation, with the goal of "protecting everyone's security."
According to CNN, the Russian President expressed his hope that "we will eventually find this solution, but it will not be simple, and we are aware of this." But, of course, I'm not ready to reveal what that will be today."
‘War will engulf Europe.’ Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, issued a warning on Tuesday about the consequences of a future Russian invasion.
According to BBC, Zelensky warned that a confrontation would "not be a war between Ukraine and Russia—this would be a war across Europe, a full-scale war."
According to CNN, Zelensky said at a press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that "there will be no occupation of any area or city in Ukraine... but there will be a horrific tragedy if the invasion of our country begins."