Putin blames West for tensions, demands security guarantees

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian president has reiterated the demand for guarantees from the U.S. and its allies that NATO will not expand eastward, blaming the West for current tensions in Europe.

Vladimir Putin’s speech Tuesday at a meeting with Russia’s top military brass came just days after Moscow submitted draft security documents demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries and roll back the alliance’s military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.

Putin said the Kremlin needs “long-term, legally binding guarantees” from the West, as opposed to “verbal assurances, words and promises” that it can’t trust.

A top U.S. official said bilateral meetings between the U.S. and Russia will likely take place in January.