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Russian interests ″non-negotiable″, but Putin is ″open to dialogue″

Russia’s president insisted on Wednesday that the country’s interests and security are “non-negotiable”, praised Russian military capabilities but said he was ready to find “diplomatic solutions” to Ukraine’s crisis.

“Our country is always open to direct and honest dialogue to find diplomatic solutions to the most complex problems,” Vladimir Putin said in a televised speech broadcast on the occasion of Defender of the Fatherland Day.

“However, the interests and security of our citizens are not negotiable for us,” Putin added.

Russia has demanded guarantees from Western countries that Ukraine will never become a member of NATO.

Citing “the loosening of the arms control system” and “the military activities of NATO” as threats to Russia, Putin defended, once again, that Russian concerns remain “unanswered”.

The Russian president also promised to continue to develop the capabilities of the army and navy, “advanced digital technologies” and artificial intelligence, as well as so-called hypersonic weapons.

Russia has in recent years developed hypersonic missiles, allegedly capable of overcoming any existing shield.

The country is also regularly accused of large-scale cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns against adversaries.

Russia on Monday recognized the two breakaway Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent.

On Tuesday, Russian officials clarified that the recognition refers to territory occupied when the self-proclaimed republics announced this status in 2014, which includes space currently held by Ukrainian forces.

Putin announced that the Russian armed forces will be able to move to those Ukrainian territories on a “peacekeeping” mission, a decision that has already been authorized by the Russian Senate.

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