Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an exclusive interview to Vladimir Solovyov, a Sunday Night program host. In it, the head of state expressed his condolences to Turkish President Recep Erdogan in connection with the Saturday attacks, and also shared his vision of the situation in Syria and in the world.
- Vladimir Vladimirovich, we live in a very hectic time. Many dead in the terrorist attack in Turkey. What can be done to stop this wave of terror? What conclusions come to?
- It is necessary to unite efforts in the fight against evil. What happened in Turkey is a blatant terrorist raid. A crime with many victims and, of course, it is an attempt to destabilize the situation in a neighboring and friendly country for us. This is done during the election campaign. Explicit provocation during the election campaign. We will be effective only in the fight against this evil, when we fight it together.
- We tried to fight together with the world community, but the world community does not want to hear us. What are our real goals of being in Syria and what are the criteria for success?
- I want to confirm that we have warned in advance all our partners, especially the countries of the region, about our intentions and our plans. Someone says we made it too late. But I want to draw your attention to the fact that no one ever warns us of this kind at all when planning and at the beginning of operations. And we did it.
- Out of goodwill?
- Out of goodwill, and based on considerations of expediency and from the desire to show that we are open to working together. I stress once again that we are working in full compliance with international law at the request of the official authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic. Other countries that have so far participated in such actions are acting illegally, because there is not a decision of the UN Security Council on this subject, nor is there an official request from the Syrian authorities. I draw your attention to the fact that by the beginning of our operation, 11 countries had already taken part in various attacks on Syrian territory. All this lasts more than a year. Knowing this, we invited them to work together. The easiest thing for them would be to join us and thus legalize their actions on Syrian territory.
Unfortunately, so far we have not agreed on this with our partners. But we do not lose hope for it. There are certain moves. Created prototypes of working groups with Israelis, Americans and Turkish partners. There are proposals from the American side on how to avoid incidents. Our specialists received requests and suggestions from the American side, formulated their vision of working together and sent it to the Pentagon. I hope that the next step will be taken, without which it is impossible to resolve the situation - joint work will begin on the search for a political solution.
If we talk about the military component - in response to the accusations addressed to us that we strike moderate opposition, not IG and other terrorist organizations, we answer - let's say you know better the situation in the territory, you are there more year illegally, give us goals, we will work them out.
- They refused. They said - no, at this level we will not work. Unclear. If they really know better and want to fight terrorism, let them call specific places where the terrorists are hiding, where their control points, warehouses with weapons and equipment. Give us a goal. What is easier? But so far, unfortunately, we have not reached this level of collaboration. But, I repeat, the first steps in establishing contacts at the military level have already been taken.
- The Syrian army launched an offensive. How high is the probability of success? How much are you in control of the situation that is now in Syria?
- It depends, of course, primarily on the Syrian army and on the Syrian leadership. And we cannot take on unnecessary obligations and never take them. And from the very beginning I said that the active phase of our work in Syria will be limited in time to the period of offensive operations of the Syrian army itself. Our task is to stabilize the legitimate authority and create conditions for the search for political compromise.
- Stabilize militarily?
- By military means, of course. The units of international terrorists standing near the capital and their ilk have no desire to negotiate with the Syrian authorities, who are almost under siege in their own capital. If the Syrian army shows its viability and readiness, most importantly, to fight terrorism, then the opportunities to reach a political compromise will be much higher.
- Do you still consider the likelihood of using the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in a ground operation in Syria?
- No, this is impossible.
- Whatever happens?
- Not. We are not going to do this, and our Syrian friends know about it.
- The accuracy with which the strikes are delivered shows that we are in a better position than the coalition under the wing of the Americans. Where does this information come from?
- We were preparing for military actions. We have concentrated in the right place and at the right time a sufficient number of forces, means, ammunition. We carried out persistently long time reconnaissance from space and from the air. We compared different types of information received. Specialists of the General Staff in coordination with the Syrian partners and other countries in the region created an information center in Baghdad. As a result of data exchange, we received additional information. So everything that happens in heaven and on earth is not a spontaneous action, but the fulfillment of plans outlined earlier.
- Caspian hit flotilla on the morning of October 7, made a big impression. No one was waiting? Has U.S. intelligence stopped working?
- I think it works, and American intelligence is one of the best in the world, let's not throw stones at it. She is one of the most powerful, but she does not know everything, and should not know everything.
- And what kind of rockets were used?
- Missiles Caliber. They are in service with us not so long ago, since 2012 year. Their range is 1500 kilometers. Strictly speaking, this has already been discussed. But this, of course, high-tech, high-precision modern weapon new generation, which we plan to re-equip the entire Russian army. These are really complex complexes. And as practice has shown, their use is very effective.
- As shown?
- On the territory of two states along the route they made 147 turns, walked at a height from 80 to 1300 meters.
- Speed - a military secret?
- No, not a secret. It is comparable to the speed of a jet plane. The fact is that this is not classified information. In principle, all our partners at the expert level are aware that Russia has such weapons.
- At the same time, Western analogues are better, worse? We have something to fear?
- The same. American sea-based missiles, I may be mistaken, but somewhere on the 4,5 thousands of kilometers fly. Our similar systems, but air-based, are also 4,5 thousands of kilometers long range.
- Can we strike from our airspace?
- Yes exactly.
- Arms race?
- No, it's not about the arms race. The fact is that modern means of destruction are improving, changing. In other countries, this happens even faster than ours. Therefore, we just have to keep up. Our state armaments program was created several years ago in a calm international environment. The program is being implemented not because we were preparing for some kind of aggressive actions, but because the main attack complexes and defense systems that were in service with the Russian army were becoming obsolete and were being released into circulation. It's time to change them. And we made these decisions in a timely manner.
- Barack Obama believes that you are doing everything solely out of vanity, the desire to return Russia to the political map of the world. Can we afford such rearmament and such a foreign policy?
- Yes. It's not about foreign policy. Russia's foreign policy is peaceful without exaggeration. If you look at the map of the world and see what Russia is like, it becomes obvious that we do not need foreign territories or foreign natural resources. Russia is a self-sufficient country. We do not need to fight and conflict with someone. Moreover, in 1990, Russia was the initiator of a divorce between the republics of the former Soviet Union. It was a common solution without civil war and other conflicts of this kind. And among this common decision, the main decision was Russia itself. Therefore, we have no desire to recreate the empire, to recreate the Soviet Union. But we must protect Russian sovereignty. And we, of course, did and will continue to do so.
Decisions on upgrading the armament and equipping the Armed Forces of our country with the latest complexes were made several years ago. 10 years ago, we thought about it and initiated the corresponding plans. Once again I want to repeat, this is due to the natural replacement of weapons that are out of circulation.
There is one more circumstance to which I would like to draw attention. Armaments are high technology. The tasks that we solve in this area, encourage us to develop not only applied but also basic science. And this has positive consequences for the entire economy. In this connection, I would like to say about the so-called import substitution. Many things that we used in the defense industry, bought abroad. It was always obvious that purchasing certain sensitive things and technologies for the defense complex was, to put it mildly, short-sighted. But it was very easy to do it for petrodollars. We need to develop our science, our production. Replacing imports is to our advantage. This is not about the fact that we create problems for our economy, on the contrary, we are taking it to new high-tech frontiers.
- MIC as a growth driver?
- Exactly. It is in all countries in fact. And in the States, and in Europe, and in China, and in India. We created with the Indians, for example, the BrahMos rocket. We have created a whole high-tech industry in the Indian industry. And Indian scientists worked very actively. Indian partners are very satisfied and offer to develop the program. What we intend to do.
- We are fighting terrorism on the distant approaches. Are we ready inside the country to resist attempts to bring pain and death again?
- You know, we somehow got used to evil manifestations here and there. Unfortunately, we still have not got rid of it. When I made a decision on actions against international terrorist gangs after the attack on Dagestan, many people told me: you can't do this, you can't do that, the fifth, the tenth, nothing, because there is a danger that the terrorists will respond. I came to the conclusion that if they were afraid, they would definitely do something.
We must always act in advance. Danger exists, but it existed without active actions in Syria. Without a fight in Syria, thousands of people with Kalashnikovs would have been on our territory long ago. And so we on the far approaches help President Assad to fight with them.
- We are trying to throw in that you are entering the war on the side of the Shiite Parsunites.
- This is a false premise, a false thesis. We do not make any difference between Shiites and Sunis. We have a significant part of our population, 10%, are Muslims. They are citizens of Russia just like Christians and Jews. We in Syria do not want to get involved in inter-religious conflicts. We have only one goal - to support the legitimate government and create the conditions for a political settlement. We have, thank God, very good relations with countries that are Muslim, and his Shiite variant, and Sunni, too. We value them and want to further develop them.
- Someone supported the leaders of the Sunni countries?
- Yes, I think so.
- So there were calls from country leaders?
- It's not just calls. We are constantly in contact with people. And we know what they think. And more than that, if I did not know what to really think of the leaders of certain countries may be, we would not have done this, and in Syria.
- That is our Egyptian comrades?
- It's not just in Egypt.
- And others too?
- The danger of terrorism looms over so many countries in the region. The leader of one of the countries once told me that it is Islamic states that are the first victims of terrorism. And they want and are ready to fight the terrorists.
Our colleagues in Europe and the States say that they are fighting terrorism, but we don’t see any real results. Moreover, in America, the program for the preparation of the so-called Free Syrian Army was closed. Planned to first prepare 12 thousands of people. Then they said they would cook six thousand. Then we prepared all 60 fighters and real fighting with LIH only 4-5 people. 500 spent millions of dollars. It would be better if they gave us 500 millions of dollars. We would have better disposed of them in terms of combating international terrorism. This is exactly how people say, do not go to the grandmother. But in any case, it is necessary to bring together the work, as I have said, for a full exchange of intelligence information.
- Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich.
The text was published from the site "Vesti.ru"