Russia accused the West today, Friday, of not being serious about security guarantees, and stressed that it would not accept mere promises in this regard, and while US President Joe Biden again discussed the Ukrainian crisis with Western leaders, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the outbreak of an armed conflict with catastrophic results.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference in Moscow with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that the West is not ready to seriously discuss Russia's security concerns.

Putin accused Kiev of not wanting to implement the Minsk Agreement on ending the ongoing conflict in the Donbas region (eastern Ukraine) between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

The Russian President stressed that the ongoing military exercises in Belarus are defensive and do not threaten anyone, noting that he discussed defense cooperation with his Belarusian counterpart in conjunction with the increasing activities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Russia's borders.

For his part, Lukashenko said that he and Putin discussed the possibility of taking steps to reduce tension, and added that for the first time there was a real danger of war, and attributed the reason for this to what he described as the foolishness of Western politicians.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias that his country is interested in explaining to the United States and NATO in detail that Moscow cannot accept promises in security issues, as he put it.

Lavrov added that the West is making unreasonable noises about Ukraine in order to achieve geostrategic interests, noting that he and his American counterpart are interested in following up their meetings to serve their plans and interests.

Yesterday, Thursday, Russia delivered a written response to a previous response of the United States and NATO to the Russian proposals regarding security guarantees that Moscow wants, foremost of which is the non-extension of NATO to the east towards its borders through Ukraine's annexation of other countries in Eastern Europe.

In this written response, Russia denied that it had any intention of Gaza Strip Ukraine, but warned that the annexation of its western neighbor to NATO may lead to a direct military conflict.

Washington and its allies assert that Russia has amassed more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine, ready to attack it within days, which Moscow considers Western propaganda.

Biden holds a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky (European News Agency)

Biden talks with Western leaders

Amid US warnings of an imminent Russian military intervention in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden will hold talks on Friday for the second time in a week on the Ukrainian crisis with a number of Western leaders.

Biden is scheduled to speak via video technology with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, the European Union and with the Secretary-General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.

The US President and Western leaders have repeatedly warned Russia that it will face severe sanctions if it invades Ukraine.


Blinken Lavrov meeting

On the diplomatic front, the Russian ambassador to Britain said that Finland and Switzerland offered to host a meeting between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

On Thursday, Blinken said during a session of the Security Council that he had offered Lavrov to meet next week in Europe.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the Russians responded by proposing dates for the end of next week, which the US side agreed to on the condition that there would not be a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In this context, a new phone call took place today between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu.

For his part, British Security Minister Damien Hender said that there was still a way out of the current crisis between Ukraine and Russia, and urged Moscow to follow it.

In turn, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said today that the Netherlands continues to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis, adding that Ukraine should be able to defend itself.

Yesterday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss began a visit to Kiev, as part of diplomatic moves aimed at defusing a possible war.


catastrophic war

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned today of the outbreak of armed conflict due to the Ukrainian crisis, stressing that if war breaks out, it will be catastrophic.

Guterres said that differences over the Ukraine crisis should be resolved peacefully and not threaten stability in the world.

He added that the cold war is returning, and that there is a need for mechanisms that allow confronting the threat of wars.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations also said that the parties to the Ukrainian crisis should be careful in the statements and the narratives presented.

For his part, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said today that the solution to the Ukraine issue is not through pressure and threat of imposing sanctions and instigating confrontation.

He stressed the need to properly deal with security concerns, which he described as legitimate for all parties.

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