V.PUTIN: Good afternoon or good evening! What time do we live for? [/B]
[b] REPLICA: Goodnight!
QUESTION: The first question is news last hours: the United States announced new sanctions against Russia.
V.PUTIN: Yes you?
QUESTION: You said earlier that Russia could prepare a response. What will be the answer this time?
V.PUTIN: We need to see what these sanctions are, we need to figure it out, without fuss, calmly. But generally, I would like to say that those who plan foreign policy actions in the States, unfortunately (this is not an observation of some recent time, but, say, for the last 10 – 15 years), conduct a rather aggressive foreign policy and, In my opinion, very unprofessional, because for whatever they take, there are problems everywhere.
Look: in Afghanistan - problems, Iraq - falling apart, Libya - falling apart. If General Sisi did not take Egypt in his hands, and Egypt would probably have been sausage and fevery now. In Africa, there are problems in many countries. We touched Ukraine - and there are problems.
In general, we all should understand that we must rely on the fundamental principles of international law, domestic law, be very careful about statehood and the constitution, especially in those countries that are just on their feet, in which the political system is still quite young, not strong, the economy is still at the development stage.
It is necessary to treat very carefully the state institutions, and when neglect manifests itself to them, then all this leads to grave consequences, disintegration and internal conflicts that we are now seeing in Ukraine.
And those people who are pushing countries to such a development should never forget that the blood of soldiers of the regular army, the blood of resistance fighters, civilians primarily on their hands, the tears of mothers, widows, orphans are on their conscience, and they don’t have no moral right to shift this responsibility on other people's shoulders.
But what should have been done jointly is to jointly, of course, call upon all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to immediately cease hostilities and to negotiate. But we, unfortunately, do not see this from our partners, primarily American partners, who, I think, on the contrary, are pushing today's Ukrainian authorities to continue the fratricidal war and to continue the punitive operation. Such a policy has no prospects.
As for the various sanctions measures, I have already said that they, as a rule, have a boomerang effect, and, without any doubt, in this case are driving Russian-American relations to a dead end, causing them very serious damage. And I am convinced that this is detrimental to the national long-term strategic interests of the American state, the American people.
It is a pity that our partners are following precisely this path, but our doors are not closed for the negotiation process, for getting out of this situation, for getting it out of this situation. I hope, after all, common sense and the desire to resolve all problems by peaceful, diplomatic means - this desire will prevail.
QUESTION: The clarifying question is due to the first. In Ukraine, the contact group in Ukraine has not yet gathered, fighting in the southeast continues and, probably, with more force. Your assessment of this situation?
V.PUTINA: It is a pity that the contact group did not meet. I believe that all those who have an attitude and influence on these parties to the conflict should take everything in order to stop the bloodshed, and immediately from both sides.
And it is necessary to make the necessary efforts to bring all the conflicting parties to the table of negotiations and solve the problems that have arisen in the country during the negotiation process.
QUESTION: Returning to Latin American land, you had an unprecedented visit both in duration and in content. Your assessment, what are your perspectives, what are your impressions?
V.PUTIN: Impressions are good. It was necessary to renew, well, not to renew, but to maintain contacts with our long-time partners, allies and friends, such as Cuba, for example. It is necessary to develop relations with other promising countries in the region, such as Argentina. And, of course, you know, the main reason for coming here was the participation in the summit of countries BRICS">.
I would like to note that this is a growing association, precisely as an association with good prospects for its development. I was very pleased with the mood of our colleagues. You know, he is so militant, very positive.
We have already said, I remind you that the BRICS countries account for more than 40 percent of the world's population, 21 percent of world GDP. But it's not just that it is a 21 percentage. The fact is that growth is extremely large in these countries.
Over the past 10 years, the GDP of countries with a high level of economic development has grown by 60 percent, and the BRICS countries quadrupled. True, we must bear in mind that these 60 percent of a large volume, from a large base, and an increase of four times - from a smaller base, but still the pace of what.
These are all young states, and the future is for the young, for the young. And we, of course, must restore our presence in this extremely interesting and very promising region of the world.
What we have done is that we signed very important documents, and these projects were implemented in a short time, in a year. I mean the creation of the New Development Bank. Each participant will contribute a billion dollars in 2. It seems to me that this can be a very good, effective, new, modern market instrument for the development of our economies.
But the pool of foreign exchange reserves is also a very good tool, which to a certain extent can influence the macroeconomics of our countries. Russia intends to invest there up to 18 billion dollars. I think that this can be, I repeat, a good tool for stabilizing the economies of our countries and, of course, for a rational allocation of the reserves of our states.
QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about Cuba. According to your feelings, did they stop being offended because we, to be honest, left the region in 2000 year? And what are the prospects for cooperation with Cuba now?
And the second question. There are reports that we are returning to Lourdes. It's true?
V.PUTIN: It is not true, we did not discuss this issue.
As for insults, you know, in interstate relations this is inappropriate terminology, although, probably, there was some sediment after the abrupt termination of relations in 90 for our Cuban friends. I do not feel it now. Moreover, unfortunately, we left, and our place was taken.
For example, Canadian companies are actively working in the metallurgical industry, in the mining, or rather; European, especially Spanish companies, work in the field of tourism and so on. But this is an interesting place, an interesting country, especially since we have very good relations, there is a very good historical foundation.
A country that has achieved, of course, very good performance in the social sphere, for example in education, in medicine. Almost all of Latin America, Cuban doctors work, moreover, they work very effectively, with benefit for the development of health care in the region as a whole, and even deductions from this kind of activity are very significant in terms of admission to the state budget. In general, we have joint projects, we have plans, and, I hope, everything will be implemented.
REPLICATION: Thank you, but about Lourdes - sorry.
V.PUTIN: No, I do not mind anything. We are able to solve challenges in the field of defense without this component. There is nothing unusual here. By agreement with Cuban friends, we have closed the work of our center. We have no plans to resume his work.
QUESTION: Vladimir Vladimirovich, the IMF delegation on these days is completing the assessment work on determining the volume of lending to Ukraine. How do you feel about this kind of assistance to this country?
V.PUTIN: First of all, I want to emphasize that Russia is interested, has a vital interest in ending the conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible for a number of reasons.
I don’t know if there is another such country besides Russia and besides Ukraine, of course, which would be so interested in stopping the bloodshed and in resolving the situation in our neighboring country. And because there are so many friends there, and because we have always had special relations historically (there are many Russian, Russian-speaking people), and so on, I mean the economy.
But, of course, it is necessary to ensure that (and I have already spoken about this) it was the military conflict that was immediately stopped, the armed confrontation, the fire stopped, moreover, I want to emphasize on both sides, and that the conflicting parties should sit down at the negotiating table.
I presume that in this regard we are interested in the provision of economic assistance to Ukraine, including assistance from the IMF. At the same time, and I would like to pay special attention to this, the practice of the foundation’s work is such that it does not provide financial support to a belligerent country. And I think that this is correct, and I believe that in the case of Ukraine this practice should be continued. Why?
Because a belligerent country, as a rule, money is given out for one purpose, and spent on others. Money is given out to support the economy, the social sphere, and is sent to combat operations and is plundered, as a rule, under this mute, under this brand.
In Ukraine, after the issuance of the first tranche, in my opinion, this is exactly what is happening. For example, a significant part of the resources should be aimed at supporting the country's banking and financial sector. As far as I know, these funds, a significant part of these funds, were transferred to the private banks of the Ukrainian oligarchs.
Where is the money, what happened to them, in whose pockets they finally got - the staff of the IMF, the public of Ukraine and those countries that they are trying to support Ukraine should know about. Therefore, you need to stop fighting, and then give out the money.
Among other things, it was stipulated that part of the resources that were received in the first tranche should go to repay liabilities on foreign trade operations, in particular, to repay debt for energy supplied by Russia. We also did not see anything and did not see any money.
With the IMF money, exactly what happened with our loans, including the three billion dollars that Ukraine received from Russia at the end of last year, is happening - neither debts are paid off, nor current payments are made. And also we have big questions about where our money is, where did it go?
If all this, about what I said, will be fulfilled, then, of course, we are in favor of supporting Ukraine, but not the oligarchs and crooks, but the Ukrainian people. This is an extremely important matter. It is necessary, of course, to formulate the proposed plan and instruments of control over its execution in such a way that no one has the slightest doubt that the money is directed exactly to the place for which it is given to the country.
QUESTION: I apologize, I will return to BRICS. Yesterday I listened attentively to the speeches of all the heads of state at the general meeting. You talked about what was done, and everyone else talked about how they would like to see the BRICS. So I did not see this militancy and the most important thing that I didn’t see - what are the prospects. Do you think there are prospects or on this New Development Bank, which is very important, of course, let's stop on that and that's it?
V.PUTIN: No no. There is a very important thing that did not exist before. We have adopted a declaration. Although it sounds lightly - a declaration, we are accustomed to relying on contracts and agreements in the field of economic cooperation, but this is a very important document that talks about the coordination of our positions, including in the sphere of international relations. In this sense, we can say that BRICS is acquiring a completely new quality. This is the first.
As for the economy, we have prepared a joint action plan and a strategy is being prepared. We are looking for areas where we could make joint efforts and capital. That is, a mechanism for joint cooperation is being developed, and this is extremely important.
I can say with full confidence that BRICS is beginning to live life to the fullest. Indeed, most recently this took place, in the 2005 year, when we hosted the G8 in St. Petersburg. Then for the first time we offered our Chinese and Indian friends to get together in three. Here it all started.
And after a short time, Brazil joined, and then the Republic of South Africa. And here is BRICS. He takes only the first steps, and the countries that are part of BRICS, what can we say, do not need comments: India, China, Brazil - 200 million people.
You know, back in the middle of 70, Brazil’s population was just 90 millions, today 200 millions. These are young, rapidly developing countries and rapidly developing promising economies. We have something to talk about and what to do in order to work together to improve our competitiveness.
QUESTION: Vladimir Vladimirovich, can you clarify another question about sanctions?
V.PUTIN: And what to clarify? We do not impose sanctions, check with those who do.
QUESTION: But still, a few months ago you said something like the following (I can make a bit of a mess): if there are new sanctions, if this vector continues, Russia can take a close look at who and how foreign companies work in its energy sector . Do you think that this moment has come, that you can see?
V.PUTIN: Did you notice what I said on this point regarding the boomerang? I said that the measures taken by the US administration with respect to Russia, in my opinion, contradict the national interests of the United States themselves. What does it mean?
This means that, for example, large companies want to work in Russia, but when faced with certain restrictions, they will lose in their competitiveness compared to other global energy companies. But we provided the opportunity for the largest American company to work on the shelf. What, the States do not want her to work there?
They cause damage to their largest energy companies. And all for what? In order to make one mistake, insist on another? I think this is at least an unprofessional approach. Sooner or later, such methods of solving international problems will have to be changed, but the damage will have to be attributed to losses to those who do it.
QUESTION: Can I have a question about the metro? Sorry for God's sake, you have already expressed condolences, an investigation has begun. Do you think the Moscow authorities should be held accountable for the tragedy, who are calling for a shift to public transport?
V.PUTIN: Responsibility is always personalized. Here is a classic, good example from criminal law. This is called the “tragedy on the hunt”, when two shooters shoot at the bushes, believing that there is game, and they accidentally kill a person. Since the examination could not establish who exactly, both are exempt from liability. Always only personalized responsibility should be.
If it is proved that a particular person, such and such, and this, and through their fault this disaster occurred (and this is a terrible disaster, and I want to once again express my condolences to the families of the victims and express the words of solidarity to the injured, and we will do everything in order , to help them), the investigating authorities will have to expose the perpetrators (I spoke with Bastrykin yesterday) and bring these perpetrators to justice, but it is specific people, those who are guilty.
Here you can not make any indiscriminate statements or such, you know, action to the public. There should be professional work and conclusions, of course, of the relevant structures that are responsible for this work, I mean its organization and control.
All the best.