Putin to the West: Folks, let's get along!

BBC's Steve Rosenberg asked Russian President Vladimir Putin whether Putin feels "at least some" responsibility for the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West. The journalist also wondered whether Putin had read the investigation about Navalny.

Russia is warm and fuzzy compared to aggressive West

Putin, without naming Alexei Navalny, called him a "blogger" and noted that Western countries should either give Russia access to data on chemical weapons or come to Russia and deliver Navalny's biological material.

"Why don't they give us the official conclusion about the use of Novichok at least?" Putin asked Rosenberg a counter question. "Are you asking me?" Rosenberg replied. "I am a journalist and I ask questions."

Putin laughed, apologized and continued: "I feel responsible for what is happening to Russia and its people, and I will do everything in the interests of the state."

"As for us being warm and fuzzy. Compared to you, yes, we are! We are warm and fuzzy. We heard assurances that NATO would not be expanding eastward. But you did nothing, shouldn't we react?  Did we pull out from the missile defense treaty? But we have to react. Our partners pulled out from the treaty on long-range and medium-range missiles. Did we pull out? No. They pulled out from the Open Skies Treaty. What should we do in this regard? You, as a NATO country, will be flying above  us collecting everything? You are smart people, why do you think that we are idiots? Why can't you calculate elementary things?" Putin said.

Putin reminded that Russia has army bases abroad only in terroristically dangerous areas, while the United States has a huge network of army bases all around the world. Russia is open to cooperation, but the United States wants no negotiations, the head of state said.

"So, who is warm and fuzzy and who is aggressive?" Putin asked and quoted Russian cartoon charter Cat Leopold, addressing the leadership of Western countries: "Folks, let's get along."

Putin hopes Biden will make completion of Nord Stream 2 possible

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will connect Russia and Germany, is beneficial to Germany and Europe as a whole, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. "This meets the national interests of Europe and Germany," he stressed, adding that it goes about a purely economic project.

At the same time, Putin set out a hope that the new US administration, headed by President-elect Joseph Biden, will respect the interests of the European Union when completing the pipeline, will not put pressure on European partners and return to fair competition in world markets.

The Nord Stream 2 is almost complete, it remains to build about 165 km of the pipeline. "I think we will finish the job," he said.

Putin's New Year gift to Russian children

At the end of the press conference, President Putin announced a New Year's gift to Russian citizens with children under seven years of age.

Many New Year and Christmas festive events for children have been canceled in Russia because of the coronavirus pandemic. Against such a background, the president and the government decided to pay each family with children under seven years 5,000 rubles (about $67), to each child.

Thus, pre-New Year payments will be paid to 12 million children, which will require a total of about 60 billion rubles.