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Ukraine peace terms, Europe’s biggest threat, Zelensky’s fate: Putin outlines Moscow’s foreign policy goals

The Russian president has urged Kiev to accept his new offer and engage in dialogue to ensure its “future existence”

Moscow’s conditions for resolving the Ukraine conflict will require Kiev to recognize that its former regions are now under Russian sovereignty, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

He warned that the current offer is the best Kiev is going to get, as Russia will not allow hostilities to be frozen while the West rearms Ukrainian forces.

Putin outlined Russia’s key policy goals during a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other senior officials. The following is a recap of the keynote speech.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky at the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 12, 2023.
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Missed chance for a just world

The world missed an opportunity to create a better, more just and secure international order in the 1990s, and the US and its allies are to blame, as they refused to respect the interests of other nations, Putin said.

“They decided that they ‘won’ the Cold War and they alone could determine how the world should move on. The practical expression of this attitude was the project for the unrestricted expansion of NATO,” according to the Russian president.

NATO diplomacy victimizes nations

The approach of the US-led military bloc to resolving conflicts has proven to be a disaster, Putin argued. NATO’s brand of diplomacy boils down to “accusing the party they dislike of all sins and crushing it.”

That was done to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and others, causing much human suffering and destruction, he added.

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FILE PHOTO: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks with US President Joe Biden.
Biggest danger to EU is the US – Putin

US is a threat to Europe

Contrary to claims by Western politicians, Russia is not the main threat to European nations, Putin insisted. They are harmed because they depend on the US in virtually all areas.

“Ruling European politicians and EU bureaucrats seem to be more afraid of displeasing Washington than of losing the trust of their own citizens,” according to the Russian president. Unlike European leaders of the past, they are mere “extras”.

The ideology that the US tries to impose on the world to save its “imperial status” is leading to a dead end, Putin warned. This “aggressive messianism based on belief in exceptionalism” keeps international relations from becoming more stable. 

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US hegemony erodes the values that Washington claims to defend, including free competition and the global market economy, according to Putin.

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“As it fails to compete even under the rules it wrote to benefit itself, Washington resorts to trade restrictions and protectionism,” he stated. “They apply pressure not only on opponents, but also on allies. Just look how they are draining European economies that are on the brink of a recession.”

The US is seeking to confiscate immobilized Russian sovereign assets, but “theft is theft despite all the chicanery,” he added, as any nation can be targeted next.

Kiev was the aggressor

The West caused the Ukraine conflict, Putin stressed. A large portion of Ukraine’s population was pro-Russian, and no amount of propaganda could break that bond. So Western meddlers opted for violence, when they funded and masterminded the 2014 armed coup in Kiev.

The government that emerged and nationalist forces “unleashed terror” on dissenting Ukrainians in the east, instead of allowing them to peacefully break away, although they had the right to seek self-determination under international law.

“Russia did not start this war. The Kiev regime did,” the president insisted.

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FILE PHOTO: Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer

West pushed Kiev into war

Since 2014, Moscow has encouraged reconciliation in Ukraine, even as Kiev and its backers stonewalled the efforts, Putin said. When people in Donbass declared independence, Kiev sent in troops.

As Russia began its special military operation in Ukraine to support the Donbas in February 2022, Moscow sought a negotiated peace, he continued. When Russian troops were close to Kiev, there was no intention to besiege the city, only to pressure the Ukrainian government to compromise.

However, Kiev opted for war, apparently on Western orders, delivered personally by then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to Putin.

A ploy to replace Zelensky

Vladimir Zelensky is an illegitimate leader of Ukraine and a criminal under the country’s own laws, since his presidential term expired last month, Putin said. Russia suspects that the West is behind Zelensky’s decision not to hold a presidential election or transfer power, as stipulated by the constitution of Ukraine.

“The true masters of Ukraine – the globalist elites across the ocean – are trying to pin on the current executive branch the burden of unpopular decisions,” he said, referring to policies that Kiev will need to pursue to keep fighting Russia. “Later they will replace them with new people, equally dependent on the West, but with an untarnished reputation.”

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Swiss summit is demagoguery

Putin lashed out at the so-called “peace summit” scheduled to take place in Switzerland this weekend. He dismissed it as a Western trick to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition, distract attention from the roots of the conflict, and boost Zelensky’s claim to legitimacy.

“It will all boil down to general demagogic discussions and a new round of accusations against Russia,” the president predicted. The conference excludes Russia, so it cannot produce a solution to the crisis.

No going back to Istanbul deal

The situation has changed since Russia and Ukraine negotiated a potential truce in Istanbul in March 2022. Now Moscow insists that Kiev recognize its sovereignty over former Ukrainian regions, in which people voted in referendums to join Russia, Putin said.

Moscow is willing to reach a ceasefire and start peace talks when Ukraine begins the withdrawal of its troops from those territories, and declares that it no longer intends to become a member of NATO, Putin stressed, insisting that “the future existence of Ukraine depends” on engaging in dialogue with Russia.

If this latest proposal is rejected, the situation will only worsen for Kiev, he warned. Moscow wants the entire problem to be untangled and will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the West to rearm Ukraine.

Ultimately, Russia wants a pan-European security architecture, in which the safety of all nations including Ukraine is safeguarded, the president added. Such a system will require the removal of any foreign military presence from the country, he concluded.

June 14, 2024 at 10:39PM
RT

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