MOSCOW, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to cooperate with the West over the fight against terrorism and other key issues without ceding Russia’s national interests.
Putin made the statement in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, the official transcript of which was published online by the Kremlin on Monday.
Russia is ready to protect its interests in a non-confrontational manner, “to look for compromise but, of course, based on international laws that must be observed uniformly by all,” Putin said.
Describing Western anti-Russian sanctions as “a foolish and harmful decision”, Putin called for using every nation’s capabilities for mutual development and the settlement of common problems.
“We are faced with common threats, and we still want all countries, both in Europe and worldwide to join efforts to combat these threats,” Putin said.
Putin noted he referred not only to terrorism, but also crimes like human trafficking, environmental protection and many other common challenges.
The president added that Russia’s willingness to cooperate “does not mean that it is us who should agree with everything that others decide over these or other matters.”
Meanwhile, Putin lamented that the European division has not been overcome since the end of the Cold War.
“Invisible walls simply moved to the East. This created the foundation for mutual reproaches, misunderstandings and crises in the future,” Putin said.
He lashed out at the West for violating its repeated promises of not expanding NATO.
“Apart from NATO expansion eastwards, the anti-ballistic system has become an issue in terms of security. And this is being developed in Europe under the pretext of the Iranian nuclear threat,” he said.
Putin said that in spite of the signing of an agreement with Iran, the prospect of lifting anti-Iran sanctions and the start of uranium shipments to Russia for processing, NATO is developing anti-ballistic missile systems further.
The president also recalled that Moscow has strongly objected to Western military interference in Iraq, Libya and some other countries, while the West turned a deaf ear to these calls.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, equally adverse problems emerged inside Russia, including industrial production decrease, social system collapse, as well as onslaught of separatism and terrorism, Putin said.
He noted that there were attempts to use international terrorism as “a means of fighting against Russia”, blaming those responsible for providing “political, information, financial or in some cases even armed support to terrorists fighting against the Russian state.”