– Putin warns West over Syria, Iran (Guardian, Feb. 27, 2012):
MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin has accused the United States and its Western allies of supporting the Arab Spring revolts in its own interests and strongly warned against a military intervention in Syria.
Putin said in an article published Monday in the Moscow News daily that the Western push for sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government was “cynical.” He insisted that both the government and opposition forces should pull out of cities to end bloodshed.
Putin defended a Russia-China veto of a U.N. resolution condemning Assad’s crackdown on protests, saying that Moscow wouldn’t allow the replay of what happened in Libya, where a NATO air campaign helped Libyans end Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
He also warned strongly against any attack on Iran, saying its consequences would be “catastrophic.”
– Putin: ‘The West wants regime change in Iran’ (RT, Feb. 25, 2012):
Vladimir Putin believes the US is using the issue of Iran’s nuclear program as a pretext for regime change. Meanwhile, its AMD plans for Europe is an attempt to have a monopoly on security.
“Under the guise of trying to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction they [the US] are attempting something else entirely and setting different goals – regime change,” news agencies quote Putin as saying.
The Russian PM pointed out that US foreign policy, including that in the Middle East, was expensive, inefficient and largely unpredictable. Putin also added that, among other things, it may eventually disserve Israel.
“They changed regimes in North Africa. What will they do next? In the end, Israel may find itself between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he said.
The Russian PM raised a number of issues during roundtable defense talks that gathered dozens of high-ranking military experts. The meeting took place in Central Russia’s city of Sarov, a closed town known as a center of nuclear research, and focused on domestic security issues as well as on global threats.
To begin with, Putin addressed the longstanding issue of NATO’s AMD plans for Europe and Russia’s involvement in the project.
“When it comes to developing our relationship towards joint AMD [in Europe] they do not want to talk seriously with us. They avoid direct talks about it. This is what happens – they try to make it look as if our relationship is developing.
“It is absolutely clear that national security is vital, but one has to do it without creating new global threats and without shifting the balance of strategic powers,” he added.
The US claims AMD is not aimed against Russia, while Putin says Russia’s growing arsenal of Topol-M and Yars and radio location stations are also not aimed against the US.
There have been several attempts to negotiate building a joint AMD shield that have shown no results, but Putin says there is a reason why NATO should reconsider the option.
“We have something that should push our colleagues and partners towards more constructive work than we’ve seen so far,” he said.
Regarding the state of national armaments Vladimir Putin said the West is far from understanding the potential.
“A few years ago we were told – not directly – but we know that the US told their colleagues in NATO ‘let Russia do whatever, all they have left is rust.’ Well today this is not the case.”
Talking about the US presidential elections and America’s relationship with Russia in the event of the right wing coming to power Putin said: “if some neoconservatives start trying to tighten the screws on us, they can do it till the thread bursts.”
“I think our position on Syria in the UN Security Council shows that we are not going to nod along to anyone. We hope it will always be like that,” he said in response to a statement by one of the officials attending the meeting that it was about time Russia stopped doing whatever America tells it to do.