Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured that he is ready to find "diplomatic solutions" with the West to de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine.
According to Agence France-Presse, Putin - in a televised speech on the occasion of Defender of the Fatherland Day - stressed: "Our country is always open to direct and honest dialogue to find diplomatic solutions to the most complex problems. However, our interests and the safety of our citizens are non-negotiable for us ".
The Russian president is seeking assurances from the West, such as a commitment that Ukraine will never join NATO and an end to Alliance reinforcements near the Russian border. He described "the relaxation of the armaments control system" and "NATO military activities" as threats to Russia, and reiterated that his country's concerns remained "unanswered".
At the same time, he pledged to continue to develop the capabilities of the Russian army and navy with "advanced digital technologies" and artificial intelligence, as well as with "supersonic" weapons.
Russia has in recent years developed supersonic missiles, which it has described as "invincible" and capable of bypassing any existing air defense system. The country has also been repeatedly accused of launching widespread cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns against its opponents.
One dead, six injured
The Ukrainian military says one soldier has been killed and six others wounded in the past 24 hours by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, as a number of ceasefire violations have been reported.
The army said it had recorded 96 guerrilla bombings in the past 24 hours, up from 84 yesterday. He added that the separatists were using heavy artillery, mortars and Grad rocket launchers.
Former President Donald Trump called the Russian president's strategy in Ukraine "genius" while criticizing the management of the crisis by his successor Joe Biden.
While watching Putin's speech on Monday when the Russian president announced that he was recognizing the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, ex-President Trump said, "I exclaimed 'this is genius'".
"He is cunning," he said, referring to Putin, who said he "knew him very well."
The closeness of the two men has, in the past, been the subject of strong criticism against the Republicans. However, Mr. Trump assured that the leader of Russia "would have never done, in the days of the Trump administration, what he is doing now."
Complaining about the way in which his successor Joe Biden handled the issue, he assured that "there would be absolutely no reason" for the crisis unfolding in Ukraine "to even happen".