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ST PETERSBURG, June 19. /TASS/. Russia is not conducting aggressive policies or claiming a superpower status, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
"I didn’t like the fact you speak about an aggressive character of our conduct," Putin said as he answered questions from participants in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. "You’re not right. We’re not displaying any aggressive conduct."
"Moscow has simply begun to defend its interests more persistently," he said. "We kept silent for quite some time, for decades actually and offered elements of cooperation of all kinds but pressure on us continued unabated until they drove to a line, which we can’t step over."
"There’s no engaging in rebuilding of the whole world," Putin said. "We must proceed from what we have at hand, treat each other respectfully, work together, and seek common solutions to common problems."
"Russia doesn’t aspire to hegemony of any kind or to the status of a superpower and we don’t impose our standards or models of conduct on anyone," he said.
"Moscow would like to have equitable relations with all members of the international community - the US, the EU, the Asian countries - and we’ll build relations with them on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Putin said.
"Moscow will defend the principles and fundamentals of international law specified in the UN Charter in the international arena," he said.
"As regards the economy, we’ll be working towards expansion of freedom, towards making the economy more efficient and diversified and we’ll work towards import substitution - an objective we’ll spend more than 2.5 trillion rubles for," Putin said.
"We’ll revive high-tech manufacturing spheres where we can and must be more competitive," he said. "Apart from ensuring our defense capability, this is needed to make the economy more sophisticated, to give it the prospects for development, and the improve our people’s lifestyles and living standards.".