Putin: Russia is ready for war with NATO

Putin speaks on Russia's readiness for war with NATO


Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a big press conference following the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg.

Putin spoke about Russia's readiness for a confrontation with NATO, achievements in the special military operation, about the grain deal, Russia's relations with Africa and about a peace initiative in Ukraine.

Russia ready for conflict with NATO

Russia is ready for any scenario, but Moscow does not want a direct military clash with the United States and the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, Putin said.

"We are always ready for any scenario. But nobody wants this. But if someone wants to — not us — we are ready," he said.

According to Putin, the United States initiated the development of a special mechanism to prevent such conflicts. The heads of certain departments communicate and consult each other directly in any crisis situation.

Russia's achievements during special operation

Putin said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were thrown back and stopped in all directions. The Russian military went on a counteroffensive in the area of ​​commanded by Lieutenant General Andrey Mordvichev.

The fighting in Ukraine is not as active as it was two days ago, although the Armed Forces of Ukraine are suffering heavy personnel losses, he added.

The Russian leader noted that Ukraine lost 415 tanks since June 4, more than 1,300 armoured vehicles of various classes were destroyed, two-thirds of them were Western-made.

Putin also said that he did not consider command and control of the troops his business.

"I do not consider command and control of the troops to be my business, it is wrong and even harmful. It is impossible to receive [information] from the front line every hour, because the people on the front line must use only special means of communication. It is unacceptable from the point of view of their safety otherwise," President Putin said.

Putin noted that he contacts the Ministry of Defence or, if necessary, specific departments several times a day.

Ceasefire and peace talks

Russia did not refuse peace talks with Ukraine, but Kyiv signed a decree banning them, he said.

Putin indicated that Russia could not fulfill African Peace Initiative ceasefire clause because Ukraine was conducting offensive operations. This issue is difficult or even impossible to implement, he said.

"The Ukrainian army is advancing, they are attacking, as they say, they are implementing a large-scale strategic offensive. Why should one ask us for a cease-fire? We can't cease fire when they are on the offensive," the president said.

The Russian leader also noted that African countries sincerely want the conflict in Ukraine to end.

A number of clauses of the African Peace Initiative are being implemented. It goes about such activities as exchange of prisoners and the solution of family and humanitarian issues related to children.

During the Russia-Africa Summit, Vladimir Putin said that Moscow pulled back troops from Kyiv in the spring of 2022 at the request of the Ukrainian authorities to conclude a final agreement. However, Ukrainian officials subsequently abandoned all agreements.

Russia and the grain deal

Africa's peace plan for Ukraine has nothing to do with the grain deal, President Putin also said. Russia's pull out from the deal caused prices on world market to rise. Russia will profit from such a development and will share part of the profit with poorest countries and supply certain amounts of food for free.

Russia still remains the world's largest grain exporter, even though Western countries make efforts to prevent this.

Putin also stressed that Russia publicly explained its decision to pull out from the grain deal. Moscow demands a subsidiary of Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) to be reconnect to SWIFT. Russia will resume its participation in grain deal agreements as soon as this requirement is met.

The behaviour of the West is irrational, and it is impossible to explain it, he stressed. Western countries are indifferent to the interests of the needy and poorest countries, Putin added.

"They just don't care. This is double more immoral. Who received most of the money from Ukrainian grain supplies? Large trading companies did. They made very good profit, because they were buying at a discount. Then they were selling at a more or less normal price to prosperous countries. What about the interests of the starving nations?"

On arrest of public figures in Russia

Putin commented on the arrests of sociologist Boris Kagarlitsky and theatre director Yevgeniya Berkovich (criminal cases were filed against them into acts justifying terrorism).

A journalist asked the President whether it was normal to arrest people "for words" and whether it was 1937 again.

"It is 2023, and the Russian Federation is in a state of armed conflict with a neighbour,” Putin replied. "In order for us to achieve success, including in the zone of hostilities, we all need to follow certain rules.”

He was not well informed about the situation with Karaglitsky and Berkovich, but said that "one should have a certain attitude towards those who want to harm us inside the country."

On Russia, Turkey and Azov*

Journalists asked Putin twice about Turkey's actions that returned Azov* commanders to Kyiv (*recognised as a terrorist organisation in Russia and banned) contrary to agreements with Russia.

"There were agreements, there will be no other comment,” Putin said, answering the first question. When a similar question was asked again, Putin's spokesman Peskov interrupted the journalist and said that the question was answered.

Putin was also asked whether Russia should deliver Azov* fighters in exchange.

"We conducted such exchanges, including with Azov* people. We exchanged them, say, for our pilots. In principle, when it is in our interests, everything can be done," the President replied.

*recognised as terrorist group and banned in the Russian Federation.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov