President Vladimir Putin gave a keynote address at a high-profile meeting of Russian diplomats, where he outlined the main issues the nation is facing in the international arena, highlighting rocky relations with the West.
‘West underestimates Russian red lines’
The worsening relations between Russia and the West were high on Putin’s agenda on Thursday. NATO troops have been active around Russian borders, including in the Black Sea region. The Russian president addressed what Moscow called “provocative actions.”
We constantly express our concerns about this, we talk about red lines, but, of course, we understand that our partners are very peculiar and, to put it mildly, they treat all of our warnings and discussions about red lines very superficially.
‘West is not a very reliable partner’
Touching on the Ukrainian crisis, Putin said France and Germany “are appeasing” Kiev’s attempts to “dismantle” the Minsk treaties, which were designed to bring the war in eastern Ukraine to an end. Recently released diplomatic cables also indicate that Paris and Berlin shot down a Russian peace plan for Donbass. According to the president, it’s not easy to reach “serious agreements” with the West in general.
We are dealing with, to put it mildly, not very reliable partners. They walk away from any previous agreements easily. Nevertheless, no matter how difficult it may be, we need to work on it.
‘We don’t need any conflicts on our borders’
While Moscow’s “recent warnings have had a certain effect,” the tensions are rising on the country’s borders nonetheless, Putin said, stressing that it must be a top priority to not allow anyone “to stage some kind of conflict on our western borders which we do not need.”
It is imperative to push for serious long-term guarantees that ensure Russia’s security in this area, because Russia cannot constantly be thinking about what could happen there tomorrow.
‘Driving a wedge between Russia and China won’t work’
Russia will continue to forge a closer relationship with “our good neighbours and friends” in China, the president said, calling the bond between Moscow and Beijing “a model for effective international cooperation in the 21st century.”
Naturally, this is not to everyone’s liking. Some of our Western partners are openly trying to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing. We are well aware of this. Together with our Chinese friends, we will continue responding to such attempts by expanding our political and economic sphere, and taking steps in the world arena.
‘NATO expansion destroyed almost allied ties’
Last month, Moscow suspended all direct bilateral ties with NATO after the bloc said it was expelling eight Russian diplomats over alleged “espionage.” In his speech, Putin reminded everyone that things weren’t always that way.
Despite the fact that the relationship between Russia and our Western partners, including the United States, was simply unique – we were almost allies – our concerns and warnings about eastward NATO expansion have been ignored completely.
‘Russia open for dialogue with US’
The widely-anticipated summit between Putin and US President Joe Biden that was held in June didn’t bring about a breakthrough in Russian-American ties. Moscow has continued to call for dialogue on multiple outstanding issues, including a potential arms race in space.
On many bilateral and international issues, our interests, assessments, and positions sometimes drastically differ, everyone knows this well. However, I want to reiterate this: we are open to connecting and exchanging views, as well as constructive dialogue.
‘Migrant crisis being used to pressure Minsk’
The ongoing migrant crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border has prompted a storm of high-profile accusations coming from the West, and has been described as part of Minsk’s “hybrid warfare” against the EU. Putin, however, pointed to the humanitarian part of the crisis, with hundreds of people stranded in the woods in frosty weather, arguing that this side of the stand-off tends to be forgotten.
Western countries are using the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border as a new pretext for tensions in the region, which is close to us, to put pressure on Minsk, and, at the same time, to forget their own obligations in the humanitarian sphere.
‘Russia to step up involvement in global issues’
Targeted by multiple sanctions by the US and its allies, Russia has been described by western officials and media as being increasingly “in isolation.” However, that is not how Putin apparently sees Russia’s role in solving international challenges.
Russia will proactively participate in international efforts to counter common challenges and threats, including, unfortunately, terrorism and international crime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation.
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