Thursday, December 20, 2018

Putin Holds Annual Q & A Marathon

Putin holds his 14th annual Q&A marathon

Euronews asks about UN GA resolution about Crimea and the Kerch Strait incident. Why does Russia develop troops in Crimea? Will it lay claim on the entire Azov Sea?
Putin explains the Crimea is part of Russia since 2014 and that Russia will pursue the military policy there as it sees fit, just as in other parts of the country.
Russia announced its plans to build a bridge across the strait right from the start and did so. It is developing civilian infrastructure in Crimea. The strait is narrow and shallow and requires piloting service to pass through. This was the case long before the bridge was created.
The Ukrainian Navy troops had no trouble passing through the strait into the Azov Sea, when they followed the regulations. The incident happened because it was a deliberate provocation by the Ukrainian side.
The Azov Sea is regulated by a special agreement between Russia and Ukraine, and its rules differ from those for regular international waters. Ukraine, by the way, captured Russian civilian ships in the Azov Sea, and outlets like Euronews don’t pay much attention to this.
As for military ships, the Ukrainians simply need to follow the rules, and everything will be fine.

12:07 GMT
Financial Times says people in the West see a threat in Russia, asks whether Putin wants to rule the world.
Putin says the people who wish to rule the world are based in Washington, not in Moscow. The notion that Moscow wants world domination is a trope used to foster unity in the West.
Russia’s foreign policy is aimed at defending the interests of the Russian people, ensuring development of the country and securing an equal place among nations in the international community.

  • 12:04 GMT
    A question about Russia’s effort to reduce the role of the dollar in its economy and the global economy. Putin says the US currency has a greater role in Russia than globally, because oil and gas is traded in it. Moscow is reducing its dollar-nominated reserves.
    The so-called dedollarization in Russia only affects how organizations interact with each other and will not affect the right of the people to own and trade dollars.
    Ruble’s role is slowly increasing in Russia’s trade with its neighbors. The desire to turn away from the dollar is partially motivated by US record of imposing financial restrictions on other nations. But the Russian currency will require to be less volatile and needs backing of a stronger financial infrastructure to make a significant gain as an international currency.

  • 10:46 GMT
    Trump is right that ISIS suffered a major setback, but there is still danger that the surviving fighters would manage to travel elsewhere. As for the withdrawal – the US has been ‘withdrawing troops’ from Afghanistan many times, and they are still there. Russia has not noticed any practical steps for withdrawal.
    The Syrian conflict is moving towards a political resolution and Russia is doing everything it can to hasten the process, using its influence on Damascus. But the UN is now suddenly stalling the work on writing a new Syrian constitution.
    American troops should not be in Syria and have been there illegally. If the decision to withdraw them was taken, that’s the right decision.
    Russian and American military specialists have managed to overcome the differences between the two countries and work together on anti-terrorism efforts. That’s a success, Putin said.

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