MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The West’s charges against Russia are a means of containment, because Russia is seen as a competitor, but this policy is wrong, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday in a question-and-and answer session telecast live.
"This is a means of containing Russia. So are the notorious sanctions," Putin said. "Endless accusations furnish the basis for taking measures that can ostensibly contain Russia’s development, if those who take them are to be believed."
"They see Russia as a threat. They see Russia become their competitor… The way I see it, this is an erroneous policy," Putin said. "It is very wrong to try to contain any country, including Russia. It’s worth establishing constructive cooperation instead. The cumulative effect for the world economy would be exclusively positive. It will be positive for an overwhelming majority of partakers."
"Our partners eventually develop this awareness," Putin said. "You can see what is happening in many countries. At the political level there everybody points to the need for establishing normal relations with Russia," Putin said.
He acknowledged that each country has its own interests, but "they must not be handled with selfish political methods in the sphere of the economy."
"Many of our partners are developing the awareness of this," Putin said. "I do hope that this process will gain momentum."
Putin has refrained from predicting a timeframe for an improvement in relations with the West, pointing out that Moscow must protect its interests.
"I cannot give an exact timeframe but I can clarify conditions for that," the president said. In response to a question as to when relations between Russia and the West will cease to deteriorate, Putin said that "for us, for Russia, it is clear that we must protect our interests and do that in a consistent way, without using any rough and boorish methods - but we must protect our interests in the areas of economy and security," the president stressed.