MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says the U.S. and its allies have ignored Russia's top security demands.
In his first comments on the standoff with the West over Ukraine in more than a month, Putin said Tuesday that the Kremlin is still studying the U.S. and NATO's response to the Russian security demands received last week. But he said it was clear that the West has ignored the Russian demands that NATO not expand to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations, refrain from deploying offensive weapons near Russia and roll back its deployments to Eastern Europe.
Tensions have soared in recent weeks, and the United States and its NATO allies worry that the concentration of about 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine signals Moscow's intention to attack.
Russia denies having any such designs — and has laid out a series of demands it says will improve security in Europe, including a promise that NATO will not extend an invitation to Ukraine and a guarantee that the alliance will remove troops from Eastern Europe.
But the U.S. and the Western alliance have firmly rejected any concessions on Moscow's suggestions. Many of Russia's demands are nonstarters for NATO, creating a stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.
In the past, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed frustration with the Soviet breakup of some countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. According to an Associated Press analysis, Putin sees those countries as part of a historic Russian linguistic and Orthodox motherland.
At a U.N. security council on Monday, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia's actions pose "a clear threat to international peace and security and the U.N. Charter." She added that council members "must squarely examine the facts and consider what is at stake for Ukraine, for Russia, for Europe."
Thomas-Greenfield said "they are attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack."
Last week, the Pentagon ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert — marking a change to a more aggressive stance from the Biden White House. In addition, NATO allies have begun transporting military equipment toward Ukraine.
Ukraine has tried to urge its citizens to remain calm and thwart fears of a potential Russian invasion. However, the U.S. has already ordered some of those staying at its embassy in Kyiv to leave the country.