Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave an interview to Russian leading TV channels. In the interview, Medvedev summed up the results of the outgoing year and shared his views and expectations for the future.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave an interview to Russia's five major TV channels, RIA Novosti reports. He answered questions about foreign and domestic policy of the Russian government, the state of affairs in economy and various measures that the Russian authorities have been taking recently.
About the crisis in Russia-Turkey relations
The main question in the interview was about the crisis in the relations between Russia and Turkey.
Commenting on the attack of the Turkish Air Force on the Russian Su-24 aircraft, the Prime Minister said that Turkey had given grounds for the war, but the Russian authorities did not make a symmetrical response to Turkey.
"Naturally, war is the worst thing that can happen in this life and in this situation. That is why it was decided not to respond symmetrically to what the Turks did, even though they, of course, broke all rules of international law and committed an act of aggression against our country. As they say in the international legal language, they gave us a casus belli - a reason for the outbreak of military actions. The Russian leadership and the president did not go there," Dmitry Medvedev said.
"But we had to show them that they will have to answer for that - the decision were made in the interests of the security of our citizens," Medvedev said.
Journalists asked Medvedev about the Ukrainian crisis in the context of power outages in the Crimea and the prospects for Kiev to return 3 billion euros of debt to Russia.
About Ukraine's debt to Russia
"They say that hope is the last thing to die, but if you want my opinion, I have a feeling that they will not return the money, because they are crooks. They have refused to return the money, and our Western partners do not help us here," Medvedev said.
"Of course, we will not put up with this, we will go to court, we will strive for Ukraine's default on the loan and will pursue Ukraine's default on all loans that were given to Ukraine," said Medvedev.
About blackouts in the Crimea
"Whatever the Ukrainian rulers may say, cutting the Crimea from electric power is nothing but genocide. This is a totally rude, absolutely twisted position, when Ukraine cut social institutions and so many people from electricity, even though the Ukrainian administration still believes that the Crimea is a Ukrainian territory populated by Ukrainian people," the Russian prime minister said. "How can we call it? This is an act of swinishness," Medvedev added.
About luxury cars for Russian officials
Medvedev also spoke against addiction to luxury among Russian officials. According to the prime minister, Russian officials use the vehicles that are more expensive than those used by their foreign counterparts.
"Let's face it: our officials are used to using the vehicles that are more expensive than those used by foreign officials. I do not think it's right. If you have your legal income, you can buy a personal car and enjoy using it. However, official cars must be of a normal, middle class, rather than a luxury and exclusive one," said Medvedev.
About the Russian ruble
Speaking about the current rate of the Russian ruble, Medvedev admitted that the Russian currency depends on oil prices.
"Of course, oil prices are not good now. They are probably the lowest oil prices that we have seen in 17 years. This is the reason why the ruble is traded so low. If oil prices change, the ruble rate will follow accordingly.
"Indeed, the Russian ruble lives under completely different conditions and can float freely. And that's good, because now no one dictates where the ruble should be. When someone dictates that, it means that the rate is not true to fact and may collapse any time. Yet, I do not have to conceal anything here - the Russian ruble is very much tied up to oil revenues and the price of oil."
About defense spending
"At some point, we have increased defense spending, this is true. In fact, we did it five years ago, and I do not think that it was a mistake to make that decision - we did everything the right way. Unfortunately, the condition of our military equipment, and the actual state of the armed forces was significantly lower than was required. Now we have pulled these expenses to the world level."
"Now the use of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria fits the parameters of the budget of the Ministry of Defense. They did not ask for an increase in defense spending," Dmitry Medvedev said.