Russian President Vladimir Putin
Biden Promises To ‘Rally The World’ If Russia Invades Ukraine Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is open to further talks and negotiations with Ukraine as he sends military troops back to base after concluding their military prep drills. Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, the Russian leader said he wants the issue on Kyiv’s relationship with NATO resolved immediately while pushing for security guarantees from western alliances that prevent Kyiv from joining NATO’s ranks.

Being the world’s most powerful military alliance, NATO has 30 member countries with Russia opposing its bases near its borders. Russia has continuously asked for guarantees that the military alliance membership will not extend eastward to cover Russian borders.

According to Al Jazeera, Moscow has announced a partial withdrawal of military troops who have been deployed and strategically positioned across the Ukraine border. Although no specific details have been provided by the defense ministry as to how many soldiers have pulled back and where they are being moved, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said this movement is a good indication of a resolve on the current crisis waiting on the edge of a possible war.

Putin told reporters that the matter of his country’s security needs to be resolved and be taken seriously by allied countries citing how Moscow’s security demands are an unconditional priority. “As for the war in Europe … about whether we want it or not? Of course not. That is why we put forward proposals for a negotiation process, the result of which should be an agreement on ensuring equal security for everyone, including our country,” the leader said.

Emphasizing his desire to continue joint talks, Putin said Russia is ready to follow through with negotiations but demand that all issues must be considered as a whole as he seeks guarantees on the main issue from the talks. The Kremlin wants a definite agreement and guarantees that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO

Meanwhile, Western alliances have expressed skepticism over Putin’s claim on military troops backing down. US President Joe Biden said there have not been any verified Russian military movement heading back to their home bases as all remain to be in a position of threat.

Russia has over 150,000 troops circling Ukraine and Belarus as well as missile-armed amphibious landing ships and submarines lined up on the shores of the Black Sea. While NATO has welcomed signals from the Kremlin over the past two days in obtaining a diplomatic resolution, NATO chief Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that he needs to see a significant withdrawal of forces to ascertain any grounds for cautious optimism.

“There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should continue. This gives grounds for cautious optimism. But so far we have not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is also skeptical about the talks of troop withdrawal from Russia. "When we see the withdrawal, then we will believe in de-escalation," he said.

On the other hand, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian defense ministry, spoke of troop de-escalation movements but also added that they will continue to conduct large-scale military drills.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medalists during the meeting at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on September 13, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

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