Vladimir Putin. TASS photo
MINSK, 22 June (BelTA) – The entire system of European security has degraded significantly, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his article “Being Open, Despite the Past” timed to the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The article has been published on the website of the Kremlin.
“The entire system of European security has now degraded significantly. Tensions are rising and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that cooperation offers. It is all the more important now that we all are facing common challenges such as the pandemic and its dire social and economic consequences,” the article reads.
Vladimir Putin noted that many countries were put before the artificial choice of being either with the collective West or with Russia. “In fact, it was an ultimatum. The Ukrainian tragedy of 2014 is an example of this aggressive policy and the consequences it has led to. Europe actively supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine. This was how it all started. Why did they have to do this? The then president Yanukovych had already accepted all the demands of the opposition,” the Russian leader said.
In the article Vladimir Putin describes the North Atlantic Alliance as a relic of the Cold War, “after all, it was specifically created for the confrontation of that era.” According to the Russian president, it was the bloc’s eastward expansion that was the main reason for the rapid increase of mutual mistrust in Europe. “Verbal promises made back then such as ‘this is not directed against you’ or ‘the bloc’s borders will not get closer to you’ were quickly forgotten. But a precedent was set. And since 1999, five more ‘waves’ of NATO expansion have followed. Fourteen new countries, including the former Soviet Union republics, joined the organization, effectively dashing hopes for a continent without dividing lines,” the Russian leader believes.
Vladimir Putin believes that prosperity and security of the common continent is only possible through the joint efforts of all countries, including Russia. “We are open to honest and constructive interaction. This is confirmed by our idea of creating a common space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean which would comprise various integration formats, including the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union,” the Russian leader stressed.
Russia is in favor of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe. “The world is a dynamic place, facing new challenges and threats. We simply cannot afford to carry the burden of past misunderstandings, hard feelings, conflicts, and mistakes… Our common and indisputable goal is to ensure security on the continent without dividing lines, a common space for equitable cooperation and inclusive development for the prosperity of Europe and the world as a whole,” the article reads.