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West’s mistakes and path to peace: what Putin told global media

The conversation was moderated by TASS Director General Andrey Kondrashov

ST. PETERSBURG, June 6. /TASS/. Relations between Russia and the West, the situation in Ukraine and regional problems were discussed at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with heads of international news agencies organized by TASS.

The conversation was moderated by TASS Director General Andrey Kondrashov.

Below is a brief summary of issues raised at the meeting, which lasted more than three hours and included dozens of questions.

US mistakes

Putin said he was certain that the US policy towards Russia will remain unchanged regardless of the outcome of the upcoming presidential election. Moscow "will work with any president elected by the people of America."

The Russian leader said he was surprised that "[not merely] in the international policy sphere, in the domestic policy, but also in the economic policy the current [US] administration makes mistakes one after one, thick and fast." "Sometimes it is even surprising when looking at what is happening," he added.

Speaking about the trial of former US President Donald Trump, Putin said the ex-president is being persecuted for political reasons, and this fact destroys Washington’s imaginary leadership in the sphere of democracy and even the country’s political system.

Commenting on claims of Russia’s alleged interference into domestic US affairs, the president said that Moscow "is observing all this from a distance." "We have never interfered in the internal political processes of the United States and we will never do so," he said.

Speaking about Ukraine, he said that Washington has no concern about the country and its people. "Nobody in the US cares about Ukraine. What they care about is the greatness of the US, which is not fighting for Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, but for its greatness and leadership. And under no circumstances can they allow Russia to succeed, because they believe that in this case the US leadership will be damaged. That is the whole point of what the US is doing," he said.

Putin described Washington’s decision to use the US dollar as a tool for sanctions as a huge mistake, because it undermines trust in the US currency.

No logic and courage in EU

Russia and the European Union countries are capable of resolving the existing problems in bilateral relations, but European leaders lack courage and confidence for defending their national interests. As a result, the well-being of European citizens is now at risk.

Speaking about Germany, Putin said that the Federal Republic of Germany has never been an entirely sovereign country after World War Two, but its economy is a driving force for Europe, and, if Germany starts to "sneeze and cough," "all the remaining European economies will fall ill."

As an example, he mentioned France, whose economy is now "balancing on the brink of recession."

Gazprom will survive Europe's refusal to supply Russian gas, if it wants "to buy liquefied natural gas that comes through the ocean at exorbitant prices" instead, Putin said, adding that he saw "no formal logic" in Europe’s actions. "I don’t want to offend anyone, but the training of decision makers in the West, including in Germany, leaves much to be desired," he said.

West has to put up with Kiev, hush up losses

The United States will put up with Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky until the spring of 2025, but then he will be replaced, Putin believes. The West has already picked up "several candidates" to replace him, he said.

However, the West still needs Zelensky "to make certain steps," such as to lower mobilization age, before they get rid of him. In Putin’s opinion, Ukraine’s mobilization campaign is only serving to replenish troops and the US insists on reducing the draft age to 18 years.

The Russian president gave no exact figures of Russia’s losses in the conflict, saying only that they are "certainly significantly smaller than those of the opposite party." "As for irretrievable losses, the ratio is one to five," Putin specified.

However, he said that a total of 1,348 Russian soldiers and officers are held as prisoners of war (POW) in Ukraine, whereas 6,465 Ukrainian servicemen are POWs in Russia. European countries and the US keep tight-lipped about the losses of their trainers and advisers in Ukraine, he added.

The Ukrainian military is unable to use long-range Western weapons on their own, because all decisions have to be made by countries that supplied them, the Russian president continued. "As I have already said, a flight assignment is required. And, in fact, this is done by those who supply these weapons: by the Pentagon for ATACMS, and by the British if it is Storm Shadow," he explained.

In defiance of sanctions

Western countries planned to undermine the Russian economy within the period from three to six months but it has not taken place, the Russian leader said, adding that the goal he set for the country to enter the top four economies of the world has been achieved.

It is important to keep the pace of development, Putin stressed. In his opinion, Russia will begin to produce everything it needs on its own, and "it’s only a matter of time."

Freedom of speech

Commenting on the West’s crackdown on Russian media, Putin said that they are conveying the Russian view and have all the rights to do so.

Western countries hamper Russian journalists’ work, the Russian president continued. Reporters are being intimidated, their bank accounts are getting closed, their personal transport is being confiscated and this is at odds with the West’s proclaimed freedom of speech.

Ways to peace

The Russian president expressed hope that the relations between Russia and the West, as well as in the world in general, will steadily progress towards peace instead of an endless escalation.

He dismissed reports of alleged Russian plans to attack NATO as nonsense. At the same time, speaking about Russia’s nuclear doctrine, the president said that "if someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we believe that it is possible to use all means at our disposal."

Putin stressed that Russia has no imperial ambitions. He thanked all delegates who took part in the meeting and asked them to convey truthful information to their readers.