Matt Bush, FISM News
Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his month-long silence concerning the standoff between Russia and the west regarding Ukraine, but in so doing he just held firm to talking points that Russia has used since the troop buildup began.
Putin’s response was simple and can largely be boiled down to five words, “Russia’s concerns were basically ignored.”
Russia has made and stuck by their 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.” The U.S., for their part, have considered these demands “non-starters” from the beginning.
During his short talk, Putin mentioned the U.S./NATO written response from a week earlier, but only to say the response was still being “studied.” If the world was hoping to hear any concrete facts or news in the Russian response, it did not happen.
In fact, both Russia and the west have stood firm in their talking points with regards to Ukraine, and it seems that neither side is moving. NBC News described it well by stating that Putin broke his silence, “but still left the world guessing about his next move.” After weeks of negotiations between Putin and the U.S., if you listen to what both sides are saying, it seems as if nothing has changed.
Looking deeper into the situation, however, may tell a different story. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, is moving troops and surface-to-air missile systems into Belarus, which borders Ukraine and several NATO members, and has also moved several ships near Ukraine’s shores in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.”
Today, President Biden is directing the Pentagon to deploy more than 3,000 troops to Poland and Germany this week just days after ordering 8,500 troops to be ready to deploy. The Wall Street Journal article also states that the Pentagon expects to make other moves of forces inside Europe.
It is amidst these troop deployments and acts of aggression that both sides continue to talk and negotiate, and even those negotiations are starting to get more defiant.
White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters in response to Putin laying blame at the feet of America, “When the fox is screaming from the top of the henhouse that he’s scared of the chickens, which is essentially what they’re doing, that fear isn’t reported as a statement of fact…We know who the fox is in this case. We have seen the buildup of troops at the border.”
In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov joked, “Traditionally Russia has always been compared to a bear — and a bear can’t climb on the roof of a chicken coop, it’s too heavy.”
After finally breaking his silence, Putin said very little, but at the same time, both sides seem to be saying a lot more with their actions than their press statements and official talking points.