Putin Scholz
Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R)

Putin, Scholz meeting: Russia does not want war

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz met on Tuesday (Feb. 15) in Moscow. The first face-to-face meeting of the two leaders since Scholz took office lasted slightly over three hours and Putin emphasized that Russia does not want any war.

“This is precisely why we put forward the proposals on the negotiating process that must result in an agreement on ensuring equal security for all states, including our country” TASS quoted the Russian head of state as saying.

According to Ukrainian officials, Moscow recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine. The Kremlin earlier Tuesday confirmed a pullback of some Russian forces from its ex-Soviet neighbor’s borders.

Scholz called the move a “good sign” toward de-escalating a crisis.

In a joint press conference after meeting, the German chancellor said “the diplomatic possibilities are far from being exhausted,” He added, “It should be possible to find a solution. No matter how difficult and serious the situation seems to be, I refuse to say it is hopeless.”

“To my generation, war in Europe has become unimaginable. We must ensure it stays that way.”

Western countries for weeks have been sounding the alarm over a build-up of Russian troops around Ukraine and a potential invasion
Putin aide Dmitry Peskov said “we have always said that after the exercises are over … troops would return to their permanent bases” and that the west had tried to “provoke tensions”.

Russia has issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that some of those states would not join NATO.
In a written response to those demands, Washington said it is committed to upholding NATO’s “open-door policy,” while NATO also conveyed the alliance’s own reply “in parallel with the United States.”

With reports by TASS, Reuters, DW