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Putin urges US not to provoke Russia to actively protect national interests

Vladimir Putin warns Moscow can respond in same loutish manner as US accuses Russia

SOCHI, October 27. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the United States to refrain from provoking Moscow to take active measures to protect its national interests and said he hopes partner relations will be established with Washington’s new administration.

At a meeting of the Valdai international discussion club, Putin said he shares the opinion of one of the forum’s participants that Russia and the United States should proceed to a new level of relations. "I agree that we must at least try to break out of this vicious circle. But it was not us who began to draw this circle. On the contrary, we opened ourselves completely in the mid-1990s and we expected it would be an equal dialogue, that our interests would be reckoned with, that we would be able to talks to each other and meet each other halfway," the Russian leader said. "It is inadmissible to seek to achieve one’s goals unilaterally and at any cost."

As an example he cited the former Yugoslavia and Crimea. "Bombing of Belgrade is intervention in bypassing of the norms and rules of international law," he said, adding that the United Nations Security Council did not sanction such action but the United States did that unilaterally.

"Please don’t provoke us to actively defend our interests. Let us try to reach agreement on various matters," Putin addressed his call to the U.S. authorities. "I would like to hope that we will have other relations with the new administration, the relations of partnership and reckoning with each other’s interests."

Please don’t provoke us to actively defend our interests

Putin warned Moscow can respond in same loutish manner as US accuses Russia. 

Putin has dismissed as 'improper' the behavior of the U.S. politicians, who shift all blame for the events in Syria to Russia.

He said Moscow could answer in the same loutish way although it has refrained from doing it so far.

"If we've reached agreement on something, it should be fulfilled," Putin said. "At any rate, there's no shifting blame to others or accusing us of all the imaginable sins because that's simply improper."

"We’re still exercising restraint and refraining from similarly loutish answers to our partners but everything has limits and we can respond one day," he said.

Plutonium deal

Putin believes that the United States’ violation of conditions of weapons grade plutonium disposal is a major problem in the sphere of international security.

"The conditions that you’ve just mentioned and described as proactive are explained on paper. There is a presidential decree. As for the procedures of disposing of weapons grade plutonium the United States has violated, they are a very serious matter in the field of international security and the handling of nuclear materials," Putin said. He said those were very different questions.

Russia, he said, has paused compliance with the weapons grade plutonium disposal treaty because the United States had failed to comply with its obligations.

"As for how we should conduct negotiations on a wide range of issues, we will manage to come to terms," Putin said.

Russia-US INF Treaty

Putin said the Russian-US Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty would have had more value if other countries joined the agreement.

"You know, it [INF Treaty] would have had a great value to us, if other countries followed the Russian-US example," Putin said.

According to him, "the former naive Russian leadership agreed to the elimination of ground-based intermediate-range missiles and the Americans also took this step."

But as a matter of fact, it was a unilateral step as the Russian side eliminated ground-based complexes, while airborne and sea-launched intermediate-range missiles, which the Soviet Union did not possess, remained in service in the United States, Putin said. As a result, disproportion persisted.

Countries neighboring on the United States did not possess such weapons at that time, while missiles of this type were operational in the countries neighboring on Russia, and also in the Middle East countries, Putin said.

Nevertheless, Russia consider it necessary to comply with the INF treaty even though airborne and sea-launched intermediate-range missiles are now operation in the Russian armed forces, he added.

Allegations about Russia’s interference in US election

The president has dismissed as hysteria speculations Russia is meddling in the election campaign in the United States.

"On the list of phantom problems, far-fetched problems there is the ongoing hysteria - I just cannot think of another word - over Russia’s alleged influence on the course of the current presidential election," Putin said.

He pointed out that the United States was faced with many problems - from the mammoth federal debt to police brutalities.

Is there anyone who thinks in full seriousness that Russia is capable of influencing the choice of the American people somehow?

"But apparently the elite has nothing to say to calm public anxiety," Putin said. "It is far better to distract people’s attention to rumored Russian hackers, spies, agents of influence and so on and so forth. Is there anyone who thinks in full seriousness that Russia is capable of influencing the choice of the American people somehow? America is not a banana country, is it? America is a great power."

Commenting on Donald Trump's statements, the president said "Trumps’s extravagancy" is a well-considered political step.

"As far as Mr. Trump is concerned, he chose his method of getting through to voters’ hearts," the Russian president said. "Naturally, he has been extravagant. All of us can see that. But I do not think that all this is pointless," Putin explained.

The Russian President noted that Trump represented the interests of a considerable part of the US society, which is tired of the elites who have been in power for decades. "He is representing the interests of ordinary people and wants to portray himself as an ordinary lad who is criticizing those who have been in power for decades and those who dislike the idea of transferring power by descent," the Russian president stressed.

Putin added that the forthcoming elections would soon show if that kind of strategy was effective. He repeated once again that the Russian authorities would work with any president whom the American people would elect and who would wish to cooperate with Russia.

Putin has described the remarks that US presidential candidate Donald Trump is his favorite as utter nonsense and lunacy.

"It is utter nonsense and lunacy. It is just a method of internal political struggle and public opinion manipulation ahead of the presidential elections in the United States," Putin said.

Putin noted that the image of Trump who is more preferable for Russia had been created in the media on purpose. "In fact, I rarely see leading media outlets create anything by accident. The whole idea was thrown into the public consciousness in the course of the US presidential campaign for one single purpose in my view - those who are defending Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate, want to help her in the struggle against the Republican Party candidate - in this case Mr.Trump," Putin stressed.

He explained how the whole scheme was working: an enemy image in the face of Russia is being created and then Trump is declared to be Russia’s favorite. The Russian leader stressed that nobody could know for now how a presidential candidate who wins would behave after the victory and which of the promises would be kept.

"Honestly, it’s pretty much the same for us. But certainly we cannot but welcome remarks, thoughts and intentions, in which a wish to normalize relations between the United States and Russia is stated publicly," the Russian president said.

Putin noted that Russia would welcome such rhetoric anyway irrespective of which of the sides would say it.

Cooperation could be better

The president said cooperation of Russia and the US on security issues continues fairly well, but it could have been much better. 

"Generally, not everything is that bad, but it could have been much better," Putin said about security cooperation of the two states.

He cited the assistance of the US in ensuring security at the Sochi Olympic Games as a good example of cooperation. "Here, in Sochi, Americans really helped us. And I am grateful to them for this. We all are grateful. They cooperated. And here they cooperated with us very efficiently, both at a higher level and at the level of the leadership of security services," the president said.

He also mentioned a negative experience, referring to the US' neglecting information Russia had sent on Tsarnayev brothers, who later staged a Boston marathon bombing attack. Putin said Russia had repeatedly warned American colleagues about the brothers, but no response came. Finally, the US side said they were in the know of the situation and asked Russia not to interfere.

"I told the FSB director - ‘place it in the archives’," Putin said. So we still have this reply in the archives. Unfortunately, several months later we saw the Boston terrorist attack during a marathon race. It is such a pity that this tragedy occurred. If contacts and trust had been on a different level between us and our partners, I am sure we could have avoided this tragedy," he said.

"Then Americans came, they came immediately, we gave them the materials we had, but it was already late, people had died," he said