MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russia is "harmless and squeaky clean" compared to Western countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an annual press conference on Thursday in response to a question of a BBC reporter.
The BBC representative asked a question about reasons for worsening relations between Russia and the West and wondered whether the Russian leader felt himself responsible for it, at least partially, or Russia is "harmless and squeaky clean."
"Now, about us being harmless and squeaky clean. Compared to you, yes, it is a fact, we are harmless and squeaky clean because we agreed to release from an unequivocal Soviet dictate those countries and nations that wanted to develop independently. We heard your assurances that NATO won’t expand to the East but you didn’t keep your promises," the Russian leader responded.
The president noted that those were not written guarantees but verbal promises yet emphasized that none of them were kept as a result.
Putin then continued to compare Russian policy with the actions of the Western countries over past decades. "Did we withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty? It wasn’t us who did that. And we are forced to respond by creating new weapon systems that curb threats. Then our colleagues withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Was it us who withdrew? No, that was our American partners. Accordingly, we said that we won’t produce and deploy such weapon systems as long as American weapons don’t arrive in Europe. Yet nobody responds to this, nobody reacts. Then they withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty. What are we supposed to do then? I don’t want to ask you this question but what are we supposed to do after this? Just let it be? So you, as a NATO country, will fly over us and report everything to the American partners and we will be deprived of this opportunity regarding American territory," he said, addressing the Western journalist.
"Why do you think that we are idiots? Why do you think that we cannot see some obvious things? There are some other issues that cause our concern. We are forced to react to them," the Russian leader added.