Putin vows to overcome hardships

Brussels 18.07.2022 Russia is not going to lose heart or have decades of its progress reversed, despite inhospitable forecasts from opponents, President Vladimir Putin told the Council for Strategic Development at a meeting on Monday.

The president said Russia was being completely denied access to foreign hi-tech products.

“We understand that this is a major challenge to our country, however we are not going to lose heart or have decades of our progress reversed, despite predictions from a number of our ill-wishers, the opposite is true,” Putin insisted.

“[We are] aware of the huge amount of obstacles” being put up, so Russia will be “looking for new solutions while making effective use of its own technological capacities available in the country and research by innovative Russian companies,” Putin explained.

“I understand that this is a complicated task. All of us are perfectly aware of that. And it’s also clear that we cannot and will not live in isolation from the rest of the world,” the Russian president pledged.

The head of state stressed that Russia cannot be isolated from the rest of the world, or fenced off from it.

“Obviously, we cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world. And we won’t. It is impossible in the present-day world to merely issue as decree and erect a huge fence. It is simply impossible,” he said and outlined top priority tasks.

According to the president, one of such tasks is to develop end-to-end technologies, which have major influence on structural changes in the economy.

Borrell: views on Ukraine conflict shift

Brussels 11.07.2022 The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali opened to Josep Borrell the different perspectives around the world on the situation in Ukraine and its consequences, the The European Union top diplomat said, pointing at the evolution of views on the conflict.

“In the March vote at the UN General Assembly, 140 states condemned the Russian aggression and no member of the G20, apart from the aggressor, opposed this Resolution. But on how to move forward and on the consequences of the war, views differ sharply,” Borrell said in a statement published on the EU’s website on Sunday. “The G7 and like-minded countries are united in condemning and sanctioning Russia and in trying to hold the regime accountable. But other countries, and we can speak here of the majority of the `Global South’, often take a different perspective,” he concluded.

“The global battle of narratives is in full swing and, for now, we are not winning,” Borrell underlined.

The G20 foreign ministerial sessions held in Bali on July 7-8 were attended by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who held a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” in response to a request by the heads of the two Donbass Republics. The U.S., the EU, the UK and a number of NATO allies retaliated with sweeping sanctions against Russia and have been ramping up their weapons supplies to Ukraine.

“In the March vote at the UN General Assembly, 140 states condemned the Russian aggression and no member of the G20, apart from the aggressor, opposed this resolution. But on how to move forward and on the consequences of the war, views differ sharply,” Borrell said in a statement published on the EU’s website on Sunday. “The G7 and like-minded countries are united in condemning and sanctioning Russia and in trying to hold the regime accountable. But other countries, and we can speak here of the majority of the `Global South’, often take a different perspective,” the EU diplomat concluded.

“The global battle of narratives is in full swing and, for now, we are not winning,” Borrell continued.

The G20 foreign ministerial sessions held in Bali on July 7-8 were attended by Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov. The Russian foreign minister held a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation in response to a request by the heads of the two Donbass republics. The US, the EU, the UK and a number of other countries retaliated with sweeping sanctions against Russia and have been ramping up their weapons supplies to Ukraine.

Putin follows Peter the Great footsteps

Brussels 11.06.2022 President Vladimir Putin compared himself to the country’s Emperor, Peter the Great (pictured), in a speech marking the 350th anniversary of the figure’s birth.

Putin made the comments while visiting a multimedia exhibit about the 18th-century tzar, who led a conquest of the Baltic region while at war with Sweden. Putin remarked that Peter the Great viewed the land as rightfully Russian, drawing a connection to the current war Russia is waging against Ukraine.

“He was returning it and strengthening it,” Putin said, according to Russian media. “Well, apparently, it has also fallen to us to return and to strengthen.” Putin also underlined that when Peter founded the city of St. Petersburg, “none of the countries of Europe recognized it as Russian.”

“It is impossible — do you understand — impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia,” Putin added. Putin has repeatedly attempted to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since the Feb. 24 beginning of the war, which has since resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people. Shortly after he launched the invasion, Putin said he was “forced” to attack Ukraine due to Western “intransigence” over security issues.

The Russian president’s comments occurred after the war in Ukraine surpassed 100 days last week.

“Peter the Great fought the Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he fought with Sweden and rejected something there. He didn’t reject anything! He returned,” the head of state explained.

Putin noted that the fate of modern Russia also fell to “return and strengthen” its sovereignty and territories.

Lavrov: Russian troops avoid civil infrasturcture

Brussels 29.05.2022 The timing of the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine is due to the order to categorically avoid strikes on civilian infrastructure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the French TV channel TF1 on Sunday, May 29.
Earlier President Vladimir Putin said that the timing of the completion of the special military operation in Ukraine depends on the intensity of hostilities, and the Russian side will “act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan that was originally proposed by the General Staff.”

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on the morning of Thursday, February 24, 2022. President Vladimir Putin said that its goal is “to protect citizens who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.”

The situation in Donbass is still tense, the Ukrainian military continues shelling from positions that are still under their control.

Meanwhile President Zelensky visited Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region.

Putin: Russia proceeds with military operation

Brussels 12.04.2022 President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, April 12, Russia will proceed according to plan with military operations in Ukraine as the pro-Western country braces for a major offensive in the east.

“Our task is to fulfil and achieve all the goals set, minimising losses. And we will act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said during a TV press conference.

Speaking to press following a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at “Vostochny” cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, Putin dismissed claims Russian army was struggling against the Ukrainian resistance and was forced to withdraw from around major cities, including the Kyiv.

“Our actions in certain regions of Ukraine were just related to containing (enemy) forces, destroying military infrastructure, creating conditions for a more active operation in Donbas,” Putin said referring to a region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

Putin also added the military operation was not going to speed up, in order to minimise casualties.

“I often hear the question: is it possible to do it a bit faster? It is. This depends on the intensity of hostilities, but the intensity of hostilities is, unfortunately related to losses,” he explained.

The Ukrainian military commanders claim that Russia’s death toll has risen to nearly 20,000, though this may well be an exaggeration. However the figures, announced by the Russian Ministry of Defence do not seem convincing either.

EU condemns Navalny imprisonment extension

Brussels 23.03.2022 “The European Union strongly condemns the ruling by Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court, to extend the imprisonment of the Russian opposition politician Mr Alexei Navalny by an additional 9 years. We also deeply regret that the court hearings were conducted in a de facto closed setting, inaccessible for observers in the penal colony outside Moscow, where Alexei Navalny is already serving another politically motivated sentence, which opens space for the fabrication of charges and lack of exercise of defence rights by the accused. This is the starkest indication that the Russian legal system continues to be instrumentalised against Mr Navalny” reads the Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell. on behalf of the EU on the ruling to extend Alexei Navalny’s politically motivated imprisonment by an additional nine years.

“The European Union deplores the systematic crackdown on civil society, independent media, individual journalists and human rights defenders in Russia. This internal repression is accelerating amid Russia’s ongoing military aggression against its sovereign neighbour Ukraine.

“The Russian Government continues to blatantly ignore all international obligations and commitments for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“We reiterate our call on the Russian authorities for his immediate and unconditional release. We call on the Russian authorities to comply with the interim measure granted by the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the nature and extent of risk to Mr Navalny’s life”.

Kremlin way accept Jerusalem for talks

Strasbourg 13.03.2022 Anna van Densky A meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Vladimir Zelensky is not ruled out, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on the air of the Rossiya 1 TV channel.
The official added that in order to organise a relevant event, it was necessary to understand clearly the agenda of discussion and its possible outcome.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin touched upon the topic of a possible meeting between him and Vladimir Zelensky in a telephone conversation. Cavusoglu claims that the Russian president had no objection to such a meeting.

On March 10, 2022, Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine Sergey Lavrov and Dmitry Kuleba completed negotiations in Antalya, which were held with the participation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The meeting lasted over an hour and a half.

Russia has been open to holding negotiations with Ukraine in Jerusalem, a senior diplomatic source said on March 12 to Jerusalem Post newspaper, soon after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke on the phone.

Zelensky said earlier the same day that “at present it’s not constructive to hold meetings in Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus. These are not the places where we can agree to stop the war… Do I consider Israel, Jerusalem in particular, to be such a place? I think the answer is yes.”

Russia has not rejected the idea of negotiations in Jerusalem, the diplomatic source said, but Israel is not sure it should host the talks.

Russia construction ambitions in Greece

Brussels 11.12.2021 In a very unusual format the spokesperson of Kremlin gave an interview to a Greek TV Channel, acting like a diplomat.
Dmitry Peskov said Russia is interested in implementing megaprojects in Greece much like it does in Turkey, while talking to an English-language interview with the Greek Antenna TV channel. The conversation took place before the December 8 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Sochi. The full interview was issued on Saturday, December 11.

The Kremlin official said that Russia is interested in expanding economic cooperation with Greece. “We have lots and lots of Russian companies who are ready to invest in Greek economy. We are interested in implementing huge, mega projects like we do it in Turkey. Of course, it is not that every project is allowed [in Greece], for example, we are building a nuclear station in Akkuyu in Turkey, but, unfortunately, nuclear energy is forbidden in Greece,” he explained.

Peskov said that Russia holds the decisive role of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in high esteem. “He is the type of man that is being appreciated by President Putin because when President Erdogan said something he meant it and he did it. This is important.”

As for the differences between Russia and Turkey on a number of issues, the Kremlin official said that “it’s impossible not to have them,” pointing out that in Syria, the two countries used to have quite tense moments where their interests were colliding in several spheres. “But every time the two presidents found it possible to come together, to sit for five, six, seven hours and not going in front of the press without reaching a solution. Every time they managed to do it,” the spokesman noted.

In response to a question as to whom Russia would support in case of an armed incident in the Aegean Sea, the Kremlin official said that “the last thing we would like to see in the Aegean or in the Mediterranean Sea is us being closer to a conflict. We were very worried in August of 2020 when there was a collision between the ships of two countries,” stressing that it is desirable to avoid any repetition of similar incidents in the future. According to him, Russia would like to support the resolution of issues between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. “We would like to support a solution,” he said, noting that Russia would like to see both sides proceed taking the reality into account “because every solution is a two-way street, with the reciprocal wish to reach the solution.”

In response to a question whether Greece may expect Russia’s full support against Turkey’s actions in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, the Kremlin official said that Turkey insisted that the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and Greece’s demands to establish the internationally recognized width of the continental shelf of inhabited islands in the Aegean Sea as well as the scale of the exclusive economic zone would definitely harm Turkey’s national interests and deprive it of its right to use the natural resources of the region. “So, we call for both sides to be calm and to be reasonable in solving the problem,” Putin’s press secretary concluded.

Russia response to NATO Black Sea drills

Brussels 13.11.2021 President Vladimir Putin finds it inappropriate to carry out its drills in the Black Sea in response to NATO exercises there, there is no need to escalate the situation, he explained it in an interview with Pavel Zarubin.

“I should say that our Defense Ministry also came up with a proposal to hold its own unplanned exercises in this water area, but I believe that this is inappropriate and there is no need to further escalate the situation there. Therefore, the Russian Defense Ministry does not go further than escorting aircraft and ships,” Putin said.

The President drew attention to the fact that now the United States and its NATO allies are now conducting unplanned exercises in the Black Sea.

Moreover, “not only they formed a fairly powerful naval group there, but they also use aviation, including strategic aviation, in the course of these exercises,” Putin noted.

Kremlin issues warning to Taliban

Brussels 14.07.2021 Russian senior official accused the Afghan government of hypocrisy and said it needed to start proper negotiations with the Taliban about the country’s future before it was too late. (Image above: illustration, Afghanistan).

Zamir Kabulov, a special Representative on Afghanistan, issued the warning ahead of upcoming talks about the Afghan crisis in Tajikistan where Foreign Ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation were meeting.

In an interview with state RIA news agency, the high official said that while the Afghan government paid lip service to the idea of talks it was not doing enough to make them happen.

“It’s hypocrisy. It’s an attempt to close their eyes to the reality which exists and these are empty words,” Kabulov told RIA when talking about the Afghan’s government’s stance on negotiations with the Taliban. “We need deeds” Kabulov has underlined.

The only way out of the current crisis which has seen the Taliban make military gains on the back of an exit by U.S. and NATO forces was for all sides to assemble at the negotiating table in Kabul, the official continued. Russia and other regional powers favoured a transitional government in Afghanistan, he added.

Any attempt by the Taliban to damage the security of Russia’s allies in Central Asia will be fraught with large losses for the Taliban movement, continued Zamir Kabulov.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. Taliban should understand that “any attempt to damage the security of our allies in Central Asia will be fraught with great losses for them, if not the loss of everything” Kabulov continued.