The Russian President Vladimir Putin held the four hours marathon “Direct Line” today. During this annual TV call-in show Putin had some choice things to say about Ukraine, the West and Iran.
A clearly preplanned Q and A show, which had three million submitted questions this year, was related to a wide variety of subjects: from questions about buying dogs and cloning to the Ukrainian crisis, relations with the West and Russia’s recent sell of missiles to Iran.
Putin, who has ruled Russia for over 14 years, said his country’s economy situation was stabilizing despite the plummeting global oil prices and the West’s imposed sanctions over Moscow’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis and its support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Putin also said that the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the Winter Olympics in Sochi were Russia’s greatest achievements in 2014. Why not also mention shooting down the Malaysia Airlines MH17 passenger plane? Or his soldiers’ invasion in Ukraine and more than 6000 people dead because of it?
But, of course, Putin, like a broken record, didn’t forget to repeat his story about Russian forces not being in Ukraine and denying allegations by the West that the Kremlin is backing pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Putin Defends The Recent Missile Deal With Iran
Putin also justified his recent move to lift a ban on delivering S-300 missiles, which are one of the world’s most advanced air defense systems, to Iran. He said the 2010 Russian ban was voluntary and that it doesn’t contradict global sanctions against Iran. The sanctions are still in effect even though a framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear program was reached just two weeks ago.
He said he made the decision because Iran “has shown a great degree of flexibility and a desire to reach compromise.” He claimed that the S-300 is a defensive weapon that doesn’t pose any threat to Israel, and should serve as “a deterrent factor in connection with the situation in Yemen.”
It is expected that Iran will get the missiles by the end of the year.
Speaking of Russian people going to fight for ISIS, Putin said that there was no “direct threat” of them returning to attack Russia. And he just couldn’t possibly resist the opportunity to trash the United States, claiming that Washington’s decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein had resulted in a rise of extremism in Iraq where “there had been none before”.
Putin Says Russia Will Not Be US Vassal
The Russian president also urged the West to respect Russia’s interests if it wants to smooth relations, adding that the US “doesn’t need allies, they only need vassals.” It’s funny listening about “vassals,” considering how many vassals Russia has managed to muster up over the years.
Relations between Russia and the West have never been so intense since the Cold War due to Moscow’s military presence in eastern Ukraine and clear signs of Russia’s attempts to destabilize some European countries with its propaganda as well as the increasing incursions into their airspace.
Putin also said that “it’s useless and senseless to put pressure on Russia using those means [sanctions]”. Since Mr. Putin is a huge fan of Q&A sessions, I’d strongly advise him to go into the streets of Russia and ask people around whether these sanctions are “useless” and whether Russian people don’t see a difference in their lives compared to their lives before the sanctions were imposed.
Putin also demonstrated his poor ‘humor’ and marriage counsellor skills when one caller said she wanted to buy a pet dog for her friend’s birthday as a gift, but her husband, former military, wasn’t willing to let her. Putin appealed to the retired military husband: “Boris, please, let your wife get a dog. It’s a good deed and will strengthen your family.”
Russia Calls Canada’s Move To Send Military To Ukraine ‘Deplorable’
Meanwhile, the Kremlin is calling Canada’s move to send at least 200 military trainers to Ukraine “deplorable” and “counterproductive” to resolving the conflict peacefully. It’s funny to hear something like that from Russia, a country that fuels the conflict with thousands of its pesky soldiers.
Ottawa’s troops will take part in a two-year deployment in an aim to improve the military skills of Ukrainian troops.
“It would be much more reasonable to concentrate on diplomacy and encourage authorities in Kyiv to finally enter into a genuine political dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk Republics as it was agreed upon in (the) ‘Minsk-2’ accords in February,” the statement said.
The Canadian forces will join US and British troops that are conducting military drills with Ukrainian soldiers, but will be nowhere near the conflict’s territory, Defense Minister Jason Kenney announced. Instead, they will concentrate on training close to the Polish border in western Ukraine.
According to CBC, defense expert Steve Saideman of Carleton University said that the military drills won’t intensify the conflict in eastern Europe, but he warned that the Russians would complain and use it for propaganda purposes.
And that’s the real existing threat right now. Propaganda. The Kremlin’s propaganda machine spills into eastern European countries via televised broadcasts of RT (aka Russia Today, fully financed by the Kremlin, broadcasts in English, German, Spanish and French) and other media outlets receiving their salaries directly from Putin.
And the Baltic states are especially worried about Russia’s propaganda. The United States sent more than 120 heavy military equipment to Latvia last month in order to prevent Russian aggression. The equipment, including M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2A3 Bradley armored vehicles, Scout Humvees as well as support equipment, was delivered to the port of Riga, the capital of Latvia.