President Joe Biden delivers remarks Tuesday amid escalating tension between the U.S., Ukraine and Russia following reports the Russian military was pulling back some troops from the Ukrainian border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he welcomed a security dialogue with the West as his military reported the troop pullback — signals that may indicate the Kremlin has opted for a diplomatic path for now despite Western fears of an imminent Russian invasion of its neighbor.
Putin said he doesn’t want war and would rely on negotiations as he presses his demand for the West to halt Ukraine’s bid to join NATO. At the same time, he didn’t commit to a full pullback of troops, saying Russia’s next moves in the standoff will depend on how the situation evolves.
While the overtures soothed global markets that have been on edge amid the worst East-West tensions in decades, Washington and its European allies remained cautious, saying they want to see evidence of a Russian pullback.
The U.S. and NATO have warned that over 130,000 Russian forces massed near Ukraine could invade at any time, and they sent troops and military supplies to shore up NATO members in Eastern Europe. Russia has denied having such plans, demanding that the West keep Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations out of the alliance, halt weapons deployments near Russian borders, and roll back forces from Eastern Europe.
The U.S. and its allies have roundly rejected the demands, but offered Russia to engage in talks on ways to bolster security in Europe.