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President Putin: Global Decisions Are the Cause of Cold War, Not Local Conflicts

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Click here for the full video-interview of American journalist Charlie Rose with Vladimir Putin in St.Petersburg at the International Economic Forum

EIRNS —Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed, during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, that the roots of many of the crises that are discussed today lie in the West moving to fill the political vacuum that opened up after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. "We keep talking about things that already happened, but we never discuss why they happened,"

Putin said, during a question-and-answer session with American journalist Charlie Rose. He noted that once the Soviet Union was gone, certain Western powers, notably the United States, acted as if they were in a state of euphoria. "Instead of developing good neighbourly relations and partnerships, they began to develop the
new geopolitical space that they thought was unoccupied. This, for instance, is what caused the North Atlantic block, NATO, to go east, along with many other developments," he said. This Western move to fill the vacuum was how we got Iraq, Putin said, and even though many people came to admit that the US invasion of Iraq was a mistake, "nevertheless they repeat it all in Libya," he said. "Now they got to Ukraine." As for how to deal with Ukraine, Putin stressed that the Minsk agreement is what’s key and it has all of the elements of a political settlement.

When Rose asked Putin about American claims that Russia is supporting and encouraging the "separatists" in southeastern Ukraine, Putin pointed out that "it is not local conflicts that cause a cold war, but global decisions like the withdrawal of the United States from the antimissile defence treaty. This is a step that pushes us all towards a new spiral in the arms race because it changes the global security system." If the conflict in Ukraine is resolved by political means "no weapons will be necessary, but it does require goodwill and a desire to enter into direct dialogue, and we will assist in this."

On the broader question of Russia’s relations with the US, Putin said that "The problem is that we are being forced to accept other’s standards and solutions without consideration for our understanding of our own interests." He called on the US to
"Let us decide what our interests and needs are ourselves, proceeding from our own history and culture." The US, he said, interferes in Russia’s internal political processes "by means of funding the non-public sector, by imposing international security decisions." And, the US speaks in the language of the ultimatum. "You should not use ultimatums when talking to us."

As for Russia’s relationship with China, Putin said " the level, nature and confidence of our relations have probably reached an unprecedented level in their entire history." Putin emphasized that it isn’t just Russia which is turning towards China. " The whole world is looking at Asia, and Europe is also looking for opportunities to develop relations, while for us this does come naturally we are neighbours and this is a natural affinity," he said.

Putin rejected the notion that the Russia-China relationship could lead to some sort of anti-Western alliance. " There is no country, including China, against which we or China, as far as I understand China’s policy, would build our policy. We do not form
alliances ’against’, we build alliances in favour of things in favour of implementing our national interests," he said, reminding Rose, once again, that it is NATO that is expanding. "The Soviet Union no longer exists, while the bloc was set up to
counterbalance the Soviet Union," he said. "The Soviet Union is gone, the Warsaw Treaty is gone, while NATO not only exists, it is expanding. You are doing it, while China and we are not creating any blocs, we do not have a bloc mentality, we are trying and successfully, it seems we are trying to think globally, not only sharing responsibility, but also trying to find mutually acceptable solutions and compromise."

What Russia wants, above all, Putin said is "to ensure our interests without in any way harming our partners. However, we are counting on a constructive, direct and substantive dialogue. When we see an absence of dialogue or an absence of desire to talk to us, this naturally causes a certain response."