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Ukraine crisis: After troop ‘pullout’, Putin says Russia does not want a war

Hours after Russia said it has begun pulling out troops from the Ukraine border after weeks of build-up, President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that it does not want a war in Europe.

Addressing a joint conference after talks with Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin called for the conflict to be resolved through diplomacy with the West.

He also said that Moscow is ready to discuss confidence-building with the United States and its NATO allies.

“We are ready to work further together. We are ready to go down the negotiations track,” Said the Russian President as per multiple news agencies. He also used the stage to confirm a “partial pullback of troops” from its ex-Soviet neighbour’s border.

The crisis — the worst between Russia and the West since the Cold War ended — reached a peak this week, with US officials warning that a full-scale invasion including an assault on Kyiv, was possible within days.

Here are the key points to know from the brewing conflict:

> Earlier in the day, the Russian defence ministry announced the partial withdrawal, saying some forces deployed near Ukraine had finished their exercises and were packing up to leave.

> The news came as a sigh of relief for Ukrainians, while the West maintained a cautious tone for lack of evidence. However, the leaders called it a “positive signal” amid the escalating tension.

> A French government spokesman said it was a “positive signal” if Russian forces were indeed withdrawing, while Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, “every real step of a de-escalation would be a reason for hope”.

> Ukraine said deterrence efforts against Russia appeared to be working but that it would watch to see if any Russian withdrawal was real.

> Speaking about the conflict, the German Chancellor said, “for Europeans, it is clear that lasting security cannot be achieved against Russia but only with Russia.”

> Russia has repeatedly blamed the Ukraine crisis on the West, saying the United States and western Europe are ignoring Russia’s legitimate security concerns.

> The Kremlin insists NATO must give assurances Ukraine will never be admitted as a member and roll back its presence in several eastern European and ex-Soviet countries.

> Russia already controls the Crimean Peninsula that it seized from Ukraine in 2014 and supports separatist forces who have taken control of parts of eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that has claimed more than 14,000 lives.

(With agency inputs)

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