Putin: We’ll Defend Ourselves as We See Fit


Posted By Newsroom On 26th May 2006 @ 11:54 In Home, Politics, International, Defence

MOSCOW - Russia has defended and will defend its interests with methods it finds appropriate, like the United States does it, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters following a Russia-US summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. He was responding to US Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism of Russia’s policy.

“As for assessments of our relations with other countries, it is with them that we will discuss these relations in the first place,” Putin said. “We see how the US protects its interests, and we see what methods and means they use. When we fight for our interests, we too defend them using appropriate methods to solve our problems, and it is strange that some people are surprised by this,” the Russian head-of-state underlined.

What surprised Putin the most was that third countries could state that the Russia-Ukraine agreement on gas exports was “a bad thing.” Ukrainian businessmen, speaking through their President, say they are satisfied with the energy agreements with Russia, considering them “not just appropriate but absolutely and the only correct decisions,” the Russian leader said.

At the same time, he stressed that the United States remained one of Russia’s largest partners, and Russia appreciated cooperation with it. “There are many spheres in which partnership between Russia and the United States cannot be replaced by anything else,” Putin said. He expressed confidence that this position is shared by many American partners, including US President George Bush.

At a conference in Vilnius on May 5, Dick Cheney criticized the Russian regime for backsliding on democracy and trying to use control of energy to blackmail its neighbors. Cheney said Russia should return to democratic reforms.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to his criticism immediately. But Cheney said it was important to express your views openly and honestly, and he did not see his remarks on Putin’s policy as sharp criticism. At the same time, he said he did not want to see an enemy in Russia.