President Trump ignites fire storm by admitting America’s deadly actions: “You think our country’s so innocent?”

Here is a portion of the interview of President Trump by Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, aired before the Super Bowl

O’Reilly: You talked to Putin last week. You had a busy week last week.

Trump: Busy week and a half.

O’Reilly: Do you respect Putin?

Trump: I do respect him but —

O’Reilly: Do you? Why?

Trump: Well, I respect a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world, major fight — that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.

O’Reilly: But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.

Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?

O’Reilly: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.

Trump: Well, take a look at what we’ve done, too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.

O’Reilly: Mistakes are different than

Trump: A lot of mistakes. Okay, but a lot of people were killed. So,  there are a lot of killers around. Okay?

Starting at 2:08

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Putin: “I am not your friend, I am the President of Russia” [Video]

From Fort Russ

July 24th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
– Rossia 1- Translated by Inessa Sinchougova

When German journalists asked the very simplistic question on whether Putin considered himself a friend or a foe to the West- he answered neither.
There is the simple concept of national interests, which may or may not be at odds with other countries. Diplomacy is the art of being able to reconcile your national interests, alongside those of other States, compromising on certain aspects along the way. 
However, the Atlanticist world view (EU/US/NATO) has shown not to allow for mutual respect, nor for cooperation. Through a number of covert means, they ask for nothing less than for Russia to no longer ascertain its national interests, which makes President Putin #1 Boogeyman in the world today.

“We’re people, not separatists or militants!” VIDEO

Interview with former resident of Iliovaisk city. She is now superintendent-volunteer at a TAF — temporary accommodation facility — for refugees in Khartosyzsk, DPR.

February 3, 2016 –
Vox Populi Evo

Partial transcript:

“If you have a chance to talk to us, residents of Donbass, in person, in Internet or via Skype, don’t miss this opportunity.

Because there is no one besides us who lived through this misery, nobody will tell you the truth, whatever bitter and hard truth it is. But this is the truth, and the truth is….what for?

For what are our cities being destroyed, and our children are dying?

For what are our elderly dying?

Why?

Why are you declaring us some sort of subhumans?

Why should we be deprived of the possibility to speak our native language?

…Despite the Minsk agreements, there is no truce. We don’t see it.

…People have nowhere to return to. They had everything, saving and building their whole life, building their lives, raising children. And they were deprived of all that in one instant. Simply taken away.

Like helpless kittens and puppies get thrown away, we were thrown away out of normal, stable life.

Interviewer: I represent international media resource Vox Populi. What would you like to say to our international viewers, people in Europe, America, Canada, Australia?

I’ll repeat the same thing: if you have a chance to get in touch with us, residents of Donbass, territory considered to be “seized by militants”, don’t miss the opportunity.

We are not separatists and not militants as we were declared for the whole world. We are just people who fight for their freedom and right to have their own opinion.”

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/02/video-were-people-not-separatists-or.html

Interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; “Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria”

Global Research, December 06, 2015
SANA News 6 December 2015

Damascus – President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which he said Britain and France have neither the will nor the vision on how to defeat terrorism and their airstrikes against ISIS will yield no results, but will rather be illegal and harmful in that they will help in spreading terrorism.

The following is the full text of the interview:

 Question 1:  Thank you for seeing us Mr President.  As you know, the British government today will be voting on whether it will join the coalition airstrikes against ISIS. Is Britain right to join airstrikes against ISIS in Syria? And do you welcome its involvement; and will it make things worse or not make a change?

President Assad:  If I want to let’s say, evaluate a book, I cannot take or single out a phrase from that book to evaluate the whole book.  I have to look at the headlines, then the titles of the chapters and then we can discuss the rest of the book.  So, what we are talking about is only an isolated phrase.  If we want to go back to the headline, it is “the will to fight terrorism.”  We know from the very beginning that Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria, from the very beginning of the conflict.  We know that they don’t have that will, even if we want to go back to the chapter on military participation with the coalition, it has to be comprehensive, it has to be from the air, from the ground, to have cooperation with the troops on the ground, the national troops for the interference or participation to be legal.  It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria.  So, I would say they don’t have the will and they don’t have the vision on how to defeat terrorism.

And if you want to evaluate, let’s evaluate from the facts.  Let’s go back to the reality on the ground.  Since that coalition started its operation a year or so, what was the result? ISIS and al-Nusra and other like-minded organizations or groups, were expanding, expanding freely.  What was the situation after the Russians participated in fighting terrorism directly?  ISIS and al-Nusra started shrinking.  So I would say, first they will not give any results.  Second, it will be harmful and illegal, and it will support terrorism as what happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so, because this is like a cancer.  You cannot cut the cancer.  You have to extract it.  This kind of operation is like cutting the cancer that will make it spread in the body faster.

Question 2:  Are you saying, just to clarify two things, are you saying that the British, if the British join the intervention, that includes also the other coalition, with that intervention you see that is illegitimate from an international-law perspective?

President Assad:  Definitely, definitely, we are a sovereign country.  Look at the Russians, when they wanted to make this alliance against terrorism, the first thing they did was they started discussions with the Syrian government before anyone else.  Then they started discussing the same issue with other governments.  Then they came.  So, this is the legal way to combat any terrorist around the world.

Britain and France helped in the rise of ISIS and al-Nusra in this region

Question 3:  You say that France and Britain are responsible for the rise of terrorism here. But they were not responsible for the rise of ISIS, for example, is not that a little bit a harsh accusation?

President Assad: Let’s start from what Blair said.  He said that invading Iraq led to the rise of ISIS.  And we know that ISIS started publically, announcing itself as a state in Iraq in 2006, and the leader was Abu Mosaab al-Zerqawi.  He was killed by American strikes; and they announced that they killed him.  So, they know he existed and they know that IS in Iraq at that time had existed; and that it moved to Syria after the beginning of conflict in Syria because of the chaos that happened.  So, they confess.  British officials confessed, mainly Blair; and the reality is telling, that they helped in the rise of ISIS and al-Nusra in this region.

President al-Assad-Sunday Times-interview 3

Question 4:  In your view, does al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, pose an equal or a greater long-term threat to the West than ISIS? And as such, is Britain’s Prime Minister, Cameron, going after the wrong enemy? I.e. he is going after ISIS instead of going after al-Nusra.

President Assad: The whole question is about the structure, and the problem is not about the structure of the organization.  It is about their ideology.  They do not base their actions on the structure, they base them on their dark, Wahhabi deviated ideology.  So, if we want to evaluate these two, the difference between the two, there is no difference because they have the same ideology.  This is one aspect.  The other aspect, if we want to talk about their grassroots, their followers, their members, you cannot have this distinction, because they move from one organization or one group to another.  And that is why sometimes they fight with each other, for their vested interests, on a local and small scale.  But in reality they are cooperating with each other on every level.  So, you cannot tell which is more dangerous because this is one mentality.  It is like if you say the first one is al-Qaida and the second one is al-Qaida.  The difference is the label, and maybe some other trivial things.

Question 5:  Last week, a key part of Cameron’s argument for extending UK airstrikes to Syria was a number that he used – 70 thousand moderate rebels – that he mentioned “don’t belong to extremist groups”, but are already on the ground, who the west can use to help them in the fight of ISIS. As far as you know, which groups are included in the 70 thousand? Are you aware of 70 thousand moderate rebels in Syria?

President Assad: Let me be frank and blunt about this.  This is a new episode in a long series of David Cameron’s classical farce, to be very frank.  This is not acceptable.  Where are they?  Where are the 70 thousand moderates that he is talking about?  That is what they always talk about: moderate groups in Syria.  This is a farce based on offering the public factoids instead of facts.

The Russians have been asking, since the beginning of their participation two months ago.  They have said: where are those moderates?  No one gave them an answer.  Actually, since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, there were no moderate militants in Syria.  All of them were extremists.  And in order not to say I am just giving excuses and so on, go back to the internet, go back to the social networking sites.  They uploaded their atrocities’ videos and pictures, with their faces and their rhetoric.  They use swords, they do beheadings; they ate the heart of a dismembered innocent person and so on.

And you know, the confession of a criminal is the incontrovertible fact.  So, those are the 70 thousand moderates he is taking about.  It is like if we describe the terrorists who committed the attack in Paris recently, and before that in Charlie Hebdo, and before that in the UK nearly ten years ago, and in Spain before that, and the 11th of September in New York, to describe them as moderate opposition.  That is not accepted anywhere in this world; and there is no 70 thousand, there is no 7 thousand, he does not have, maybe now ten of those.

Question 6:  Not even the Kurds and the FSA for example, the free Syrian army?

President Assad: The Kurds are fighting the terrorists with the Syrian army, in the same areas.

Question 7:  But they are also being supported and armed and trained and backed by the Americans to also launch, to fight …

President Assad:  Mainly by the Syrian army, and we have the documents.  We sent them armaments, because they are Syrian citizens, and they want to fight terrorism.  We do the same with many other groups in Syria, because you cannot send the army to every part of Syria.  So, it is not only the Kurds.  Many other Syrians are doing the same.

Question 8: U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry said last Friday that the Syrian government could cooperate with the opposition forces against the ISIS even if president Assad is still in office, but he said that this would be so difficult if the opposition fighters, who have been fighting the Syrian president, don’t have a faith that the Syrian president will eventually leave power.

Kerry also said that concerning the timing of leaving office, the answer is it is not obvious whether he will have to leave.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Progres Newspaper on Saturday that he no longer believes that President Assad’s departure is essential to any political transition in Syria, adding that the political transition does not mean that President Assad should step down before it but there should be future insurances.

My question: Do you intend to complete your presidential term until 2021 or do you expect a referendum or presidential elections prior to that date? And if so, when can these elections be held? And what can make you decide to hold them? And if they are held, is it certain that you will be running for election? What can influence your decision?

President Assad: The answer depends on the context of the question. If it is related to a settlement in Syria, then early elections have nothing to do with ending the conflict. This can only happen by fighting terrorists and ceasing Western and regional support for terrorists…Early elections will only be held as part of a comprehensive dialogue about future by the political powers and the civil society groups in Syria.

Thus, it is not about the will of the President, but rather the will of the Syrian people…It is about a political process. If this process is agreed on, then I have the right to run for elections like any other Syrian citizen…My decision in this case will be based on my ability to deliver on my commitments…and on whether I have the support of the Syrian people or not….Anyway, It is early to talk about this, because as you know, this process was not agreed upon yet.

President al-Assad-Sunday Times-interview 2

Question 9:   Do you think ISIS can be defeated by airstrikes alone?

You cannot defeat ISIS through airstrikes alone without cooperation with forces on the ground

President Assad:  Did the coalition defeat them by airstrikes during the last year or so?  It didn’t.  Did the Americans achieve anything from the airstrikes in Afghanistan?  They achieved nothing.  Did they achieve anything in Iraq since the invasion in 2003?  Nothing.  You cannot defeat ISIS through airstrikes alone, without cooperation with forces on the ground.  You cannot defeat them if you do not have buy-in from the general public and the government.  They cannot defeat ISIS by airstrikes; they are going to fail again.  The reality is telling.

Question 10:     If the international coalition refuses, as it has so far, to coordinate with the Syrian Army, or with the local troops on the ground, what is your next plan?  I mean do you have a plan B beyond what is going on?  How do you plan to end this war?

President Assad:  This coalition is illusive, it’s virtual, because it has not made any achievements in fighting terrorism on the ground in Syria.  Since an illusion doesn’t exist, let’s not waste time with the ‘before and after.’  From the very beginning we started fighting terrorism irrespective of any global or world powers.  Whoever wants to join us is welcome, and whether they join us or not, we are going to continue.  This is our plan. It is the only plan we have and we will not change it.

Question 11:  Are you calling on them to ask the Syrian government to coordinate and cooperate with the Syrian army and the Syrian air force in the fight against terrorists?

President Assad:  We are very realistic.  We know that they are not going to do so and that they don’t have the will.  This is more about international law than anything else.  Is it possible that western governments, or regimes, don’t know the basics of international law, that they don’t understand the meaning of a sovereign state or that they haven’t read the UN Charter?  They have no respect for international law and we didn’t ask for their cooperation.

Question 12:  But would you like them to?

President Assad:  If they are ready – serious and genuine – to fight terrorism, we welcome any country or government, any political effort.  In that regard we are not radical, we are pragmatic.  Ultimately, we want to resolve the situation in Syria and prevent further bloodshed.  That is our mission.  So, it’s not about love or hate, accepting or not, it is about reality.  Are they truly ready to help us fight terrorism, to stop terrorists coming into Syria through their surrogate governments in our region, or not?  That is the real question.  If they are ready, we will welcome them.  This is not personal.

Question 13:  Do you think it is possible for you, in Syria, and for your allies – Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and other allies – to defeat ISIS militarily; and if so, how long do you think it might take?

President Assad:  The answer is based on two factors: our capabilities on the one hand, and the support the terrorists receive on the other.  From our perspective, if you were to remove the support these groups get from various countries in our region and the West in general, it will take a matter of months to achieve our mission.  It is not very complicated, the solution is very clear to usHowever, these groups have unlimited support from these countries, which makes the situation drag on, makes it more complicated and harder to resolve.  This means our mission will be achieved at a much higher price, which will ultimately be paid by Syrians.

Question 14:  But there has already been a high price: over 200,000 people have been killed.

President Assad:  You are right, and that is a consequence of the support I referred to.

Question 15:  But a lot of it is also blamed on the Syrian government and the Syrian use of force, sometimes indiscriminate or unnecessary force in certain areas that has brought about a large number of people killed.  How do you respond to that?

President Assad:  First, all wars are bad.  There is no such thing as a good war.  In every war there are always too many innocent casualties.  These are only avoidable by bringing that war to an end.  So it is self-evident that wars anywhere in the world will result in loss of life.  But the rhetoric that has been repeated in the West for a long time ignores the fact that from day one terrorists were killing innocent people, it also ignores that fact that many of the people killed were supporters of the government and not vice versa.  As a government, our only countermeasure against terrorists is to fight them.  There is no other choice.  We cannot stop fighting the terrorists who kill civilians for fear of being accused by the West of using force.

Question 16: Let us talk about the role of Russia.  How important has the role of Russia been?  Was Syria about to fall had Russia not intervened when it did at the time?

Russia and Iran’s support played important part in Syria’s steadfastness against terrorism

President Assad: The Russian role is very important.  It has had a significant impact on both the military and political arena in Syria.  But to say that without this role, the government or the state would have collapsed, is hypothetical.  Since the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, there were bets on the collapse of the government.  First it was a few weeks, then it was a few months and then a few years.  Every time it was the same wishful thinking.  What is definite is that the Russian support to the Syrian people and government from the very beginning, along with the strong and staunch support of Iran, has played a very important part in the steadfastness of the Syrian state in the fight against terrorism.

Question 17: You mean the previous one, or the recent military intervention?

President Assad:  No, the whole support; it is not only about their participation.  Their support from the very beginning in all aspects: political, military and economic.

Question 18: How and why did Russian involvement come about now?  And can you give us some details of the discussions between you and President Putin that brought it about?  Who took the first step?  Did you ask, or did they offer?

The Russians want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region, themselves and even Europe

President Assad:  You will have to ask the Russians why they got involved.  But from our perspective, since the Western coalition started in Syria, ISIS has expanded, al-Nusra has expanded and every other extremist and terrorist group has expanded and captured new territory in Syria and Iraq.  The Russians clearly saw how this posed a threat to Syria, Iraq and the region in general, as well as to Russia and the rest of the world.  We can see this as a reality in Europe today.  If you read and analyse what happened in Paris recently and at Charlie Hebdo, rather than view them as separate incidences, you will realize something very important.  How many extremists cells now exist in Europe?  How many extremists did you export from Europe to Syria?  This is where the danger lies.  The danger is in the incubator.  The Russians can see this very clearly.  They want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region, themselves and even Europe.  I am not exaggerating by saying they are protecting Europe today.

Question 19: So, did they come to you and say we would like to be involved? Or did you ask them: could you help us?

President Assad:  It was an accumulative decision; it didn’t happen by me having this idea or them having another.  As you know, our relationship with the Russians goes back more than five decades, and they have always had military staff in Syria: call them experts or by any other name.  This cooperation accelerated and increased during the crisis.  Their teams are here and can see the situation real-time with us.  This kind of decision doesn’t start from the top down, but rather from the bottom up.  There is a daily political and military discussion between our two countries.  When it reached a presidential level, it was mature enough and ready for the decision to be made quickly.

Question 20: But there must have been a point when they said: we think, or with your agreement, we think that we should actually now physically get involved.

President Assad: Again, this was started at the lower levels.  These officials jointly agreed that it was necessary to get involved and each party discussed it with their leaders.  When it reached the stage of discussion between us, I mean between President Putin and I, we focused our discussions on the how.  Of course this did not happen directly as we had not yet met and it’s impossible to discuss these issues on the phone.   It was mediated through senior officials from both sides.  That is what happened.  In terms of procedure, I sent a letter to President Putin which included an invitation for their forces to participate.

Question 21:  So you asked president Putin having been advised by your officials.

President Assad:  Exactly, after we reached that point I sent President Putin a formal letter and we released a statement announcing that we had invited them to join our efforts.  Let’s not forget that President Putin had already taken the step when he said he was willing to create a coalition.  My response to this was that we are ready if you want to bring your forces to participate.

Question 22:  So, what forces have been deployed? I am talking about Russian forces. There have been reports, for example, of a thousand ground troops plus Special Forces, is this correct? Is there anytime when you think that the Russians will be involved in Syria, not just by air but with ground troops as well?

President Assad:  No, so far there is no such thing.  There are no ground troops except for the personnel that they send with their military staff and airplanes to guard the airbase, and that is natural.  They don’t have any ground troops fighting with Syrian forces at all.

Question 23:  And there is no plan for that?

President Assad:  We have not discussed that yet, and I don’t think we need it now, because things are moving in the right direction.  The Russians may consider it with time or under different circumstances, but for the moment, this has not been discussed.

Question 24: There was a report, or a hint, that Syria might be receiving S-300 from the Russians, and the S-300 will allow Syria to protect its airspace. Is this something, for example, that Syria will use against the US-led coalition’s air force, even if Britain was involved, since their warplanes are in Syrian skies, as you said earlier, without official or sovereign permission. As Syria will receive S-300, then will it use this to impose, if you want, protection of its skies and impose a way to tell the coalition that you have to actually directly deal with us, or coordinate with us on the ground?

We will use any means available to us to protect our airspace

President Assad:  That is our right and it is only to be expected that we prevent any airplane from violating our airspace.  That is completely legal.  We are going to use any means available to us to protect our airspace.  It is not about that armament in particular.  Any air defense we have is for that reason.

Question 25:  Do you have that defense at the moment?

President Assad:  No. So far we don’t have it.

Question 26:  If you get that defense?

President Assad:  Any defense systems we are going to have are for that purpose.  If we are not going to protect our airspace, then why buy such armaments in the first place?  That is self-evident.

Question 27:  And if you get it …

President Assad: Not at the moment; it is not our priority now.  Our priority is fighting the terrorists on the ground.  This is the most important danger now.  Of course we are keen to protect our airspace and prevent foreign interference in our internal affairs, militarily or other.  But the priority now is to defeat the terrorists.  By defeating the terrorists, some of whom are Syrians, we can move further in protecting the whole country from foreigners.  It is a matter of priorities.

Question 28:  But I meant about the actual coalition airplanes that are actually flying over Syria. So, that is not a priority either at the moment?

President Assad:  No, not at the moment.  At the moment the priority is fighting terrorism.

Question 29:  If Saudi Arabia were to invite you for serious discussions on the future of Syria, would you accept such an invitation? Or have relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia been severely severed that you would never consider that?

President Assad:  No, there is nothing impossible in politics.  It is not about whether I accept or not, but rather about the policies of each government.  What are their policies towards Syria? Are they going to keep supporting the terrorists or not? Are they going to continue playing their dangerous games in Syria, Yemen and other places?  If they are ready and willing to change their policies, especially with regard to Syria, we don’t have a problem meeting with them.  So it is not about the meeting or whether we go or not, the issue is their approach to what is happening in Syria.

Question 30:  Do you expect any results from the talks in Vienna?  And what would be the shape of any possible deal that you see coming out of Vienna?

President Assad:  The most important clause in the Vienna communique is that the Syrians should come together to discuss the future of Syria.  Everything else is an accessory.  If you don’t have that main part, the accessories are of no use.  So, the only solution is for us to come together as Syrians.  Vienna itself is a meeting to announce intentions; it is not the actual process of siting down and discussing the future.  So, the question is not what results from Vienna, but rather what we Syrians are able to achieve when we sit down together.

Question 31:  But do you realize that some of the opposition’s leaders, and I’m talking about opposition figures who have been against taking up arms and what have you, but are also afraid of coming to Syria, because the moment they land in Syria, they will be arrested by the security officers and put in prison. And it has happened to others.

President Assad:  No, it has never happened.  There is an opposition in Syria, and they are free to do whatever they want.

Question 32:  No, I mean the external opposition. For example, somebody like Haitham Mannaa, cannot come back.

President Assad:  We have clearly stated that when there is a gathering in Syria, which they want to attend, we guarantee that they will not be arrested or held.  We have said this many times.  We don’t have any problems in this regard.

President al-Assad-Sunday Times-interview 1

Question 33:  Now, Saudi Arabia invited 65 figures, including opposition leaders, even rebel commanders, businessmen, religious figures for a meeting in Saudi Arabia to present a united front in preparation for the January Vienna talks. Yet, the Syrian government, which is the other major element in this whole thing for the future of Syria, has not been seen to be involved with the opposition. Are you conducting any talks with the opposition? Have you reached any consensus with them?

President Assad:  We have direct channels with some opposition groups; but others cannot communicate with us because they are not allowed to do so by the governments that control them.  From our perspective, we are open for discussions with every peaceful opposition party.  We don’t have any problems.  With regards to the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi’s have been supporting terrorism directly, publically and explicitly.  That meeting will not change anything on the ground.  Before the meeting and after the meeting Saudi Arabia has been supporting terrorists and will continue to do so.  It is not a benchmark or a critical juncture to discuss.  It will not change anything.

Question 34:  Do you see that anytime, in the future, that in order to protect Syria, or in order to save Syria, or to get the Syria process moving, that you might see yourself sitting with certain groups, one group, or certain groups, that perhaps now you deem terrorist, but in the future, it might be feasible that you would agree to negotiate with them because it would do well for the future?

President Assad:  We already have; since the very beginning one of the pillars of our policy, was to start a dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict, whether they were in Syria or not.  We negotiated with many terrorist groups, not organizations – to be very precise, who wanted to give up their armaments, and return to normal life.  These negotiations led to many amnesties being issued and has proven to be very successful in several areas.  Furthermore, some of these fighters have joined the Syrian Army and are now fighting with our forces.  So yes, we are sitting down with those who committed illegal acts in Syria, whether political or military, to negotiate settlements on the condition that they give up their arms and return to normal life.  This doesn’t mean that we negotiate with terrorist organizations like ISIS, al-Nusra and others. This is what I meant by groups, those who want out of the fight, regret their choices and want to have their lives back.

Question 35:  The rebels call them barrel bombs. You refuse to refer to them as barrel bombs. Irrespective of the name, these were indiscriminate. Do you accept that Syria used indiscriminate bombs in some areas, which resulted in the death of many civilians?

President Assad:  Let us suppose that this part of the propaganda is true, which it isn’t.  But for the sake of argument, let us ask the same question regarding the different attacks committed by the Americans and the British with their state-of-the-art airplanes and missiles in Afghanistan and in Iraq, not only after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but also during the first Gulf war in 1990.  How many civilians and innocent people were killed by those airstrikes with these very high precision missiles?  They killed more civilians than terrorists.  So, the issue is not these so-called barrel bombs and this evil president killing the good people who are fighting for freedom.  This romantic image is not the case.  It is about how you use your armaments, rather than the difference between so called barrel bombs and high precision missiles.  It is about how you use these weapons, what kind of information you have and your intention.  Do we have the will to kill innocent people?  How is that possible when the state is defending them?  By doing so, we are pushing them towards the terrorists.  If we want to kill people, for any reason, innocent people or civilians, that will play directly into the hands of the terrorists.  And this is against our interests.  Are we going to shoot ourselves in the foot? That is not realistic and not logical.  This propaganda cannot be sold anymore.

Question 36: Mr President, the final question. As president of the country, and you always lead the military and everything. Do you, even if by default, not bear responsibility for some of the things that happened in Syria?

President Assad: I’ve been asked this question many times especially by western media and journalists.  The aim of the question is to corner me between two answers: if I were to say I was responsible, they would say look the President bears responsibility for everything that happened, if I were to say I am not responsible, they would say this is not true, you are the president, how can you not be responsible.

Question 37:  Because you are the head, like in a family …

President Assad:  Let me continue, that was only an introduction to my answer.  It is very simple.  Since the very beginning, we built our policy around two pillars, engaging in dialogue with everyone, and fighting terrorism everywhere in Syria.  Now, if you want to talk about the responsibility, you have to discuss many aspects of the conflict, and the reason why we are here today in this difficult and dire situation in Syria.  If I am to claim responsibility, do I also claim responsibility for asking the Qataris to pay the terrorists money?  Or for the Saudis to fund their activities?  Or for western governments allowing their terrorists to come to Syria?  Do I claim responsibility for asking western governments to offer a political umbrella to those terrorists and label them as moderates?  Or for the western embargos on the Syrian people?  This is how we have to discuss it.  We cannot simply say, that he takes responsibility or not.  We have to talk about every part; we have to differentiate between the policy decisions and the practices, between the strategy and the tactics.  So, it is very complicated to evaluate it.  Additionally, if you want to evaluate who bears responsibility in Syria, it could happen at the end of the war, when you can investigate the whole story before, during and after.

Interviewer:  Mr President, thank you very much.

“Only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO”– Italian newspaper interview with Vladimir Putin, transcript

I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid,”

Posted by the Russian Federation Embassy in the UK, June 6, 2016

Vladimir Putin’s Interview to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening.

Luciano Fontana: Good evening, Mr President. First of all, we would like to thank you for giving us this important opportunity to interview you today.

Vladimir Putin: It is my pleasure.

Luciano Fontana: My name is Luciano Fontana. I am the new head of Il Corriere della Sera, and here with me is my colleague, Paolo Valentino, who worked for a long time in Russia and even married a Russian woman.

Vladimir Putin: You are the new head of the newspaper?

Luciano Fontana: Yes, it has only been a month.

Vladimir Putin: Congratulations you on the appointment.

Luciano Fontana: Thank you very much, Mr Putin.

I would like to start with a question concerning Russian-Italian relations. This relationship has always been close and privileged, both in the economic and political spheres. However, it has been somewhat marred by the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions.

Could the recent visit by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to Russia and your upcoming visit to Milan somehow change this trend, and if so, what is needed for that?

Vladimir Putin: First, I firmly believe that Russia was not responsible for the deterioration in relations between our country and the EU states. This was not our choice; it was dictated to us by our partners. It was not we who introduced restrictions on trade and economic activities. Rather, we were the target and we had to respond with retaliatory, protective measures.

But the relationship between Russia and Italy has, indeed, always been privileged, both in politics and the economy. For instance, in recent years, that is, in the last couple of years, trade between our countries increased elevenfold, from what I believe was $4.2 billion – we make calculations in US dollars – to over $48 billion, nearly $49 billion.

There are 400 Italian companies operating in Russia. We are cooperating actively in the energy sector, in an array of fields. Italy is the third largest consumer of our energy resources. We also have many joint high technology projects: in the space and aircraft industries, and in many other sectors. Russian regions are working very closely with Italy. Last year, almost a million Russian tourists, about 900,000, visited Italy. And while there, they spent over a billion euro.

We have always enjoyed trust-based relations in the political sphere as well. The establishment of the Russia-NATO Council was Italy’s initiative – Silvio Berlusconi was Prime Minister at the time. This advisory working body no doubt became an important factor of security in Europe. In this regard, Italy has always contributed greatly to the development of the dialogue between Russia and Europe, and NATO as a whole. Not to mention our special cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

All this, of course, lays the foundation for a special relationship between our countries. And the incumbent Prime Minister’s visit to Russia sent a very important message showing that Italy is willing to develop these relations. It is only natural that this does not go unnoticed either by the Government of the Russian Federation or by the public.

We are, of course, ready to reciprocate and go further in expanding our cooperation as long as our Italian partners are willing to do the same. I hope that my upcoming visit to Milan will help in this respect.

Continue reading

Summary of Italian newspaper interview with Vladimir Putin

Posted on RT, June 6, 2015
Russia ‘never viewed Europe as a mistress’ – Putin

Russia has never sought a no-obligation kind of relationship with Europe, and has always called for a serious partnership, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that touched on EU sanctions, energy disputes and severed business ties with Ukraine.

“We have never viewed Europe as a mistress,” Putin told Il Corriere della Sera on the eve of his visit to Italy. “I am quite serious now. We have always proposed a serious relationship. But now I have the impression that Europe has actually been trying to establish material-based relations with us, and solely for its own gain.”

Putin said the “deterioration in relations” between Moscow and the EU states was not Russia’s fault.

“This was not our choice,” Putin said. “It was dictated to us by our partners. It was not we who introduced restrictions on trade and economic activities. Rather, we were the target and we had to respond with retaliatory, protective measures.”

Read more‘Worst is over’ – Putin on Russian economy

The Russian president recalled the “notorious” Third Energy Package and Brussels’ denial of access for Russian nuclear energy products to the European market – despite all the existing agreements.

The EU is also reluctant to acknowledge the legitimacy of Russia’s integration attempts on the territory of the former USSR, initially the Customs Union, which was later succeeded by the Eurasian Economic Union.

“It is all right when integration takes place in Europe, but if we do the same in the territory of the former Soviet Union, they try to explain it by Russia’s desire to restore an empire,” Putin said. “I don’t understand the reasons for such an approach.”

http://twitter.com/RussianEmbassy/status/607131817091727361/photo/1

Putin recalled that once it was French President Charles de Gaulle who first voiced the need to establish a

“common economic space stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

“Today nobody objects to it, everybody says: yes, we should aspire to this,” the Russian leader said, stressing that the reality sharply contrasts with the expectations.

It has cost Russia billions to rearrange its energy system because Brussels insists that its new members, such as the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), must join the European Union’s energy system, whereas these territories have for decades been an integral part of the energy system of the Soviet Union, and later Russia.

Brussels explains that although “there are no problems,” it was decided that it will “be better this way,” whereas for Russia that means building additional generating capacities in western regions.

Because electricity transmission lines went through the Baltic States to Russia’s territories in Europe and vice versa, the Baltic States cut-over plan and ensuring electricity supply to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave has cost Russia about €2 billion to €2.5 billion in practical terms, Putin said.

If a similar procedure is forced on the electricity infrastructure of Ukraine, Putin said, that would cost Russia another €8 billion to €10 billion.

“Why is this necessary if we believe in building a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok?” said Putin, referring to the fear that the European Union’s Eastern Partnership’s aims not to integrate the whole former Soviet Union into a single space with Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, but to “cut something off,” like Ukraine and Moldova, and establish a new border between modern Russia and western countries.

In the interview, President Putin paid special attention to the Ukrainian economy, pointing out that although the European Union unilaterally removed its customs duties for Ukraine, the country’s sales to the European market remain low because “there is nothing to sell,” since there is no demand for Ukrainian products in Europe “either in terms of quality or price.”

“We have a market for Ukraine, but many ties have been severed unilaterally by the Ukrainian side,” the Russian president said.

“I don’t understand why this was done,” Putin said, adding that when he puts this question to his colleagues in Europe and the US, they say that the situation “has run out of control.”

Still, despite the difficulties that the development of the Russian economy faces today, the country’s agricultural sector has been “growing steadily” at a rate of 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014, Putin said.

Putin recalled that once it was French President Charles de Gaulle who first voiced the need to establish a

“common economic space stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

“Today nobody objects to it, everybody says: yes, we should aspire to this,” the Russian leader said, stressing that the reality sharply contrasts with the expectations.

It has cost Russia billions to rearrange its energy system because Brussels insists that its new members, such as the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), must join the European Union’s energy system, whereas these territories have for decades been an integral part of the energy system of the Soviet Union, and later Russia.

Brussels explains that although “there are no problems,” it was decided that it will “be better this way,” whereas for Russia that means building additional generating capacities in western regions.

Because electricity transmission lines went through the Baltic States to Russia’s territories in Europe and vice versa, the Baltic States cut-over plan and ensuring electricity supply to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave has cost Russia about €2 billion to €2.5 billion in practical terms, Putin said.

If a similar procedure is forced on the electricity infrastructure of Ukraine, Putin said, that would cost Russia another €8 billion to €10 billion.

“Why is this necessary if we believe in building a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok?” said Putin, referring to the fear that the European Union’s Eastern Partnership’s aims not to integrate the whole former Soviet Union into a single space with Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, but to “cut something off,” like Ukraine and Moldova, and establish a new border between modern Russia and western countries.

In the interview, President Putin paid special attention to the Ukrainian economy, pointing out that although the European Union unilaterally removed its customs duties for Ukraine, the country’s sales to the European market remain low because “there is nothing to sell,” since there is no demand for Ukrainian products in Europe “either in terms of quality or price.”

“We have a market for Ukraine, but many ties have been severed unilaterally by the Ukrainian side,” the Russian president said.

“I don’t understand why this was done,” Putin said, adding that when he puts this question to his colleagues in Europe and the US, they say that the situation “has run out of control.”

Still, despite the difficulties that the development of the Russian economy faces today, the country’s agricultural sector has been “growing steadily” at a rate of 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014, Putin said.

https://youtu.be/Vc4qnvGxF1U

We pay significant attention to the development of agriculture in our country,” Putin said, adding that the growth in the first quarter of the current year remains at the same level, at 3.4 percent.

“Russia is now the third-largest grain exporter in the world,” Putin said, noting that last year Russia produced a record harvest of grain crops, at 105.3 million tons.

“Russia has an enormous potential in this sphere,” the Russian president said, mentioning among the reasons for this the world’s probably largest area of arable land and the biggest freshwater reserves, since Russia is the largest country on the planet.

The Russian president’s itinerary for his visit to Italy includes attending the Russia Day at the Universal Exhibition EXPO 2015 in Milan, where the core theme of this year’s exhibition is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

In this regard, Vladimir Putin said that, according to experts, the world’s fast-growing population will reach 9 billion people by 2050.

Yet even today, according to the UN, 850 million people, including 100 million children, around the planet are undernourished or starving.

“There is no doubt that this is one of the key issues of our time,” Putin said, noting that Russia’s contribution to the UN programmes exceeds $200 million.

http://rt.com/business/265408-russia-europe-mistress-putin/