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Don't be afraid of Russia, Putin tells West
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2015-06-06 17:02:03 UTC
Don't be afraid of Russia, Putin tells West

June 6 2015

Don't be afraid of Russia, Putin tells West

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse

Russia is not a threat to the West, President Vladimir Putin insisted in an interview published on June 6, saying he was still committed to a Ukraine peace deal after a fresh flare-up in the country's east.

"I would like to say - there's no need to be afraid of Russia," Putin told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in an interview, ruling out a major conflict between Russia and NATO member countries.

"The world has changed so much that people in their right mind cannot imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to do, I can assure you," the Russian president said.

"Only a sick person - and even then only in his sleep - can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO."

The Russian president spoke ahead of his visit to Italy next week that will include a meeting with Pope Francis.

Putin's interview was released by the Kremlin just as Group of Seven leaders are gearing up to meet in the Bavarian Alps for a summit this weekend without Russia.

In the interview, Putin stressed that Russia merely sought to defend itself from outside threats.

He pointed out that NATO members have defense expenditures that are 10 times Russia's military spending, adding that the US military budget was the biggest in the world.

To ensure a strategic balance, Russia will develop "systems to overpower anti-missile defenses," Putin said.
"We have made significant progress in this direction," he added, without providing further details.

Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year has jangled nerves in Europe, with Baltic and Nordic countries reporting an uptick in Russian military activity over the past year.

Pentagon officials said on June 5 that the United States was considering a range of moves to beef up security, including bolstering missile defenses or even deploying land-based missiles in Europe.

Speaking about the Ukraine crisis, Putin accused Kiev authorities of being unwilling to implement a European-brokered peace deal agreed in February in Minsk and enter into dialogue with pro-Moscow rebels.

"The problem is that representatives of the current Kiev authorities do not even want to sit down to talks with them," Putin said. "And there is nothing we can do about it," he added, urging the West to prod Kiev into negotiating with the rebels.

"We would like these agreements to be implemented," Putin said, stressing that Kiev should ensure autonomy for rebel-held territories and implement a law on municipal elections and on amnesty.

"The leaders of the self-proclaimed republics have publicly said that under certain conditions - that is the implementation of these Minsk agreements - they are ready to consider the possibility of considering themselves part of Ukraine."

"I believe this position should be considered as a serious, good preliminary condition to start serious negotiations," he said, urging the European Union to provide "greater financial assistance" to Kiev.

Ties between Russia and the West have plunged to their lowest level since the end of the Cold War, with Moscow being accused of inciting a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Putin said Moscow was ready to build an equal partnership with the EU and accused Brussels of pursuing relations based solely "on material interests."

"We never treated Europe like a mistress," he said, using a metaphor suggested by an Italian journalist.
"I speak absolutely seriously now. We always offered a serious relationship."

He accused the EU of rupturing Russia's economic ties with fellow ex-Soviet nations, saying if Baltic nations joined the EU power grid, Moscow would have to fork out up to 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion) to build new transmission lines.

If Ukraine chose to join the European power grid too, the costs for Russia would grow to some 8-10 billion euros, Putin added.

2015-06-06 17:14:52 UTC
Putin has demonstrated that madness already time and again.


06 June 2015

Putin in Italy: Russia will not attack NATO

Putin has said that Russia will only attack NATO "in a mad persons dream" and that people should look at the US who is expanding militarily not Russia.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that they have no plans to attack NATO and is only responding to threats by the US and NATO military expansion on its borders. Speaking to Italian newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, he said that they are not building up its offensive military capabilities overseas.

Speaking to the paper on the eve of his visit to Italy, Putin stressed that peopleshould not take the ongoing "Russian aggression" scaremongering in the West seriously, as a global military conflict is absolutely unthinkable in the modern world.

"I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people's fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid," Putin said.

He also so that there were specific countries were deliberately nurturing such fears, he added, saying that hypothetically the US could need an external threat to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic community. "Iran is clearly not very scary or big enough" for this, Putin noted with irony.

Russia's President also pointed out to the journalists to compare the global military presence of Russia and the US/NATO, as well as their military spending levels. He also urged them to look at the steps each side has taken in connection with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia's military policy is "not global, offensive, or aggressive," Putin stressed, adding that Russia has"virtually no bases abroad," and the few that do exist are remnants of its Soviet past.

He pointed out that there were small contingents of Russian armed forces in Tajikistan on the border with Afghanistan, mainly due to the high terrorist threat in the area. There is an airbase in Kyrgyzstan, which was opened at request of the Kyrgyz authorities to deal with a terrorist threat there. Russia also has a military unit in Armenia.

Putin also highlighted that the fact Russia has been working towards downsizing its global military presence while on the contrary the US has been doing the exact opposite. "We have dismantled our bases in various regions of the world, including Cuba, Vietnam, and so on," the president stressed. "I invite you to publish a world map in your newspaper and to mark all the US military bases on it. You will see the difference."