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Russia not seeking confrontation but will defend its interests — Putin

July 27, 2015, 23:40 updated at: July 28, 2015, 1:06 UTC+3 GENEVA
"Russia takes no interest in seeking confrontation with other countries, but sometimes we simply have to defend our interests, and we will undoubtedly do it," he said
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© Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

GENEVA, July 27. /TASS/. Russia is not seeking confrontation but will defend its national interests, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Swiss broadcaster RTS on Monday.

"Russia takes no interest in seeking confrontation with other countries. But sometimes we simply have to defend our interests. And we will undoubtedly do it, but not in a confrontational manner but thorough finding compromises and mutually acceptable solutions," he said.

When asked to say what he thought about the charges with madness, the Russian leader said he had got used to such accusations over the years of his political career. "I try to ignore them. I am simply doing what I think I must in the interest on my country and my people," he said.

The European public attitudes are shifting towards protection of national interests, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"I don’t think they are supporting me," Putin said in reply to the question about fellow feelings for him from Europe’s right-wing and nationalist movements, including National Front president Marine Le Pen or representatives from the Swiss People’s Party.

"We are seeing the process of real awareness in their movements of their national interests, the way they see them," he said.

"Tectonic changes in the public opinion towards a growing protection of national interests are seen in the world or in European countries," Putin said.

The United States’ withdrawal from the ABM Treaty has triggered the current round of arms race, Putin said in an interview.

"This new spiral of the arms race was prompted by the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. This treaty was a cornerstone of the entire system of international security," he said.

Moscow looks to a dialogue with the US and Europe both on fighting terrorism, the situation in Ukraine and on economic issues, Vladimir Putin said.

"We hope very much that we will be holding a dialogue, arriving at acceptable for all solutions on many issues — on the settlement in Ukraine, on economic issues," the president said.

When Russia was only beginning its fight against radical Islamism "and came to face problems in the Caucasus, I was surprised to see that we had no support even when we presented proof that we had encountered a terrorist threat, that we were fighting against Al Qaeda," he said. "And when I asked my partners, including in Europe, saying, ‘Don’t you see what’s going on?’ they told me, ‘Yes, we do but due to various considerations, including those of the domestic and international policies, we cannot support you.’ I told them then, ‘If you cannot support, don’t, just don’t stand in the way.’"

"Now I see that the situation has really changed," Putin admitted. "Europe, the United States have realized the real danger of extreme manifestations of radicalism and have really joined these efforts. There is a Russian saying - It’s better late than never - and we hope very much that we will maintain dialogue not only on that matter, but also on other problems, including the situation in Ukraine and economic issues, and will try to reach solutions acceptable for all.".

The United States should not act in a way ‘who-in-not-with-us-is-against-us,’ Putin said in an interview.

He said he was not seeking to "demonize the United States’ policy." "They pursue their policy as they think they must in their interests," the Russian president said. He called to take efforts to "find a balance of interests, to give a fresh impetus to the work at the level of the United Nations Organizations."

"Undoubtedly, the United States is a great power. The American people created its country in a span of several centuries. It is an amazing result," he said. "But it doesn’t mean that the current U.S. authorities have any right to move around the world, seizing people and taking them to their prisons of acting in a way ‘who-in-not-with-us-is-against-us,’" the Russian president said.

He said Russia should arm itself with patience and "work with our American partners to elaborate solutions like we do in certain areas of our cooperation, for instance, like it was on the Iranian nuclear problem."

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