NATO’s Expansion Eastwards Is Like Building New Berlin Wall

NATO’s Expansion Eastwards Is Like Building New Berlin Wall

NATO’s expansion eastwards is like building a new Berlin Wall, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the press conference. The president recalled NATO’s expansion eastwards, creation of missile defense.

Russia’s tough position on crisis situations should make it clear to counterparts that common security space is necessary, Putin said.

© AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
NATO expansion since 2001 significantly changed geopolitical situation – Putin

The main problem of the international relations today is creation of new dividing lines, Vladimir Putin said. As for Russia’s recent military activity, Putin admitted Russia’ has contributed to the tension in the world, but he said that Russia is only protecting itself. Putin reminded that the Russia after the fall of the USSR stopped their strategic aviation flights though the US continued theirs. Now, Russia has resumed such exercises, the president said.

Putin said Russia has two foreign military bases: one in Kygyzstan, opened on request of the president for protection from the militants from Afghanistan, and in Tajikistan, while the US has bases around the world.

Russia’s defending its national interests stronger and stronger but it is not attacking anybody, Vladimir Putin told the conference. The Pentagon’s military budget is 10 times higher than Russia’s, and still Russia is for some reason considered aggressive, Putin expressed his surprise.

Putin reminded that the US withdrew from the anti-ballistic missile treaty unilaterally and are creating their ABM systems in Alaska and in Europe.

© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druzhinin

Putin says Russia to respond toughly to provocative statements
On ‘the fifth column’ Putin said he doesn’t accept the charges with breathing a new life into the ‘fifth column’ term answering a question on whether or not he feels personal responsibility of some kind for reviving the term.
“I don’t feel any responsibility for this,” Putin said. “All my actions aim to consolidate our society and not to divide it,” Putin said.

He said there is an opinion that he should be more accurate in his public statements, adding: “I’ll think it over but it’s impossible anyway to coat everything with polish endlessly. Sometime you have to call a spade a spade.”
“It’s a highly complicated problem,” Putin admitted. The border line between the opposition and the fifth column is very fine and it’s really very difficult to give a definition to it.

Infographics Supplies of Russian natural gas to China Supplies of Russian natural gas to China

May 21, 2014, Gazprom and CNPC have signed a deal on gas supplies to China
Russia’s new gas pipeline projects Putin says that not only Russia is focusing on strengthening cooperation with the Asia-Pacific markets. Russia’s turn towards the East comes due to the situation in the global economy, not due to political reasons, Putin noted. “The Asia-Pacific is developing quicker than any other parts of the world. New possibilities emerge,” Putin said. “In terms of energy for China, India, Japan and South Korea the demands in energy resources are growing by leaps and bounds. Everything there is developing quicker than in other regions of the world. Should we give up this?” the Russian leader said.

According to Putin, the Russian Power of Siberia pipeline to China will let Russia redistribute gas flows from the western regions of the country to the Far East.

Infographics Russian gas supplies to Europe: existing routes Russian gas supplies to Europe: existing routes

Asked about the pipeline to Turkey that Russia is going to build instead of the South Stream gas pipeline, Vladimir Putin said the projected pipeline may be connected to the European gas transport system. Organization of a new European gas hub at the border between Turkey and Greece depends on European counterparts. “To a big extent, this depends on the European counterparts. Whether they would like to have stable, absolutely guaranteed, risk free energy supplies from Russia, which they need. Good, if yet, we shall be working, and via Greece we may reach Macedonia, and further Serbia, and then to go again to Baumgartner in Austria. If they are not interested, we shall not do so,” he said. He also said that there’s no choice for Europe now but to buy Russian gas, as it’s the most available and the cheapest gas on the market at the moment. Putin also noted his Turkish counterpart Recet Tayyip Erdogan’s firm position on the gas contract with Russia in the face of the West pressure. Answering a question of the West’s request for Turkey to join sanctions against Russia, Putin said he proposed Ergodan at the Russian-Turkish talks on the expansion of gas cooperation: “Let’s not do it”. “But he (Erdogan) is a strong man. He said: ‘No. We will’. This is the choice of our Turkish partners,” Putin said.

Russia to be able to resolve economic difficulties — Chinese ForMin
Russia’s current economic situation is not cost of Crimea Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not believe the current economic situation is the cost to be paid for Crimea.

The president focused on the economy, saying the Russian GDP in 2014 grew 0.6-0.7% and the growth of the agricultural sector is expected to amount to 3.3%.

As for the present situation in the economy, Vladimir Putin says it was caused by external factors.

Asked about the situation on the Russian financial market, the president said the slump may continue for up to two years. He also said Russia’s central bank and the government worked out the right measures to help the economy, though the implementation was late. It is not the central bank that is responsible for the situation in the country, Putin concluded.

Asked about Russian economy’s dependence on hydrocarbon export and a possibility of using the current crisis for good to restructure the Russian economy, Putin says it’s a difficult process, and it’s possible through improvement of the business environment. He also said falling oil prices will inevitably require economy restructuring.

The president said Russian bureaucracy is nothing compared to the European one.

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