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Western nations want to chain ‘the Russian bear’
Western nations want to chain “the Russian bear,” pull out its teeth and ultimately have it stuffed, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned. He said anti-Russian sanctions are the cost of being an independent nation.
Putin used the vivid metaphor of a “chained bear” during his annual Q&A session with the media in Moscow in response to a question about whether he believed that the troubles of the Russian economy were payback for the reunification with Crimea.
“It’s not payback for Crimea. It’s the cost of our natural desire to preserve Russia as a nation, a civilization and a state,” Putin said
The president said that even if “the Russian bear” started “sitting tight… and eating berries and honey,” this would not stop pressure being applied against the country.
“They won’t leave us alone. They will always seek to chain us. And once we are chain, they’ll rip out our teeth and claws. Our nuclear deterrence, speaking in present-day terms,” Putin said.
“As soon as this [chaining the bear] happens, nobody will need it anymore. They’ll stuff it. And start to put their hands on his Taiga [Siberian forest belt] after it. We’ve heard statements from Western officials that Russia’s owning Siberia was not fair,” he exclaimed.
“Stealing Texas from Mexico – was that fair? And us having control over our own land is not fair. We should hand it out!”
The West had an anti-Russian stance long before the current crisis started, Putin said. The evidence is there, he said, ranging from“direct support of terrorism in the North Caucasus,”to the expansion of NATO and the creation of its anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe, and the way the western media covered the Olympic Games in Sochi, Putin said.
Russia not attacking west, just defending its interests
Russia is protecting its national interests, but it not attacking any western nations politically, Russian President Vladimir Puitn said.
Putin said that the only contribution Russia made toward the current period of tension “is an increasingly strong stance in defending its national interests.”
“We are not attacking anyone in the political sense,” he said. “We are only defending our interests… The displeasure of our Western partners, particularly the Americans, comes from that.”
Russia’s actions, described as aggressive in the West, are a response to what Western nations are doing, Putin said.
“Russia in the 1990s completely stopped the long-range bomber flights that the Soviet Union used to carry out,” he said. “But American strategic bombers with nuclear weapons still flew. Why? Against whom? Who was being threatened?”
Putin’s comments came in response to a question from the BBC’s veteran world news editor, John Simpson, who asked Putin whether the current crisis in relations between Russia and the West was a result of Russia’s aggression. Simpson cited the increased patrols of the Russian Air Force in international airspace as an example of such aggression. The exchange happened at Putin’s annual Q&A session in Moscow.
The US has been ignoring Russian interests despite Moscow’s complaining about this many times, the president said.
“Take the anti-ballistic missile system. Who unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty, which was a cornerstone of the international security system? Was that us? No, the US did it. They unilaterally withdrew and are creating threats toward us,” Putin said.
Unlike the United States, which has dozens of military bases around the world, Russia has only two, Putin said. And those are in places where Russia’s national security is directly threatened, in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the president said.
“And you are telling now that we have an aggressive policy? Do you have common sense? Do we place our troops at US borders? Who is placing NATO troops, military infrastructure closer to us? Does anyone listen to us, talk to us about it? No, nothing. There is always the same response: it’s not your business,” Putin said.
Putin added that Russia simply wants to be treated as equal partners by the West.
FULL SPEECH ~ Streamed live on Dec 18, 2014 ~ Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding his tenth annual news conference in Moscow
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