Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke on Tuesday of a possible diplomatic solution between Russia and NATO.
After yesterday’s meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Orbán said he was convinced that existing differences can be bridged, making it possible to sign an agreement that would guarantee peace, guarantee Russia’s security and prove acceptable for NATO member states as well, Reuters reports.
Putin has accused the US of trying to lure Russia into war and of ignoring Moscow’s security concerns over Ukraine, while insisting that, should Ukraine join NATO, Russia could attempt to retake Crimea. “Let’s imagine Ukraine is a NATO member and starts these military operations,” Putin hypothesised, asking “are we supposed to go to war with the NATO bloc?”
While some in the West see Russia’s build-up of troops near the border with Ukraine as preparation for an invasion, Russian officials have rejected the accusation repeatedly.
Moscow called on Western countries to respect the 1999 security agreement, a premise of which is that no country may strengthen its security at the expense of other countries.
Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, said as much in a call with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, and noted that Blinken had agreed it merited further discussion. Blinken reportedly also stressed the importance of a pull-back by Moscow.
Talks to resume
Bloomberg reports that the US agreed to discuss Moscow’s request for a way to verify that NATO bases in Poland and Romania do not have Tomahawk cruise missiles provided Russia agrees to share similar information about some of its bases.
During his visit to Kiev, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pledged to support Ukraine with arms and natural gas as well as economic and humanitarian aid.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has issued a decree to increase the number of troops in the armed forces by 100,000 over a three-year period. He called on MPs to avoid panic and to remain calm. The planned expansion of the armed forces was “not because we will soon have a war… but so that soon and in the future there will be peace in Ukraine”, he observed.