From the Kremlin

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
The meeting itself is just an intensive federal planning meeting and I only skimmed it. But there was one little bit that caught my eye about unfinished, or 'frozen', projects which was described in a way that I had not thought of before. It linked in my mind to the idea of the 'movement of knowledge' and what happens when the movement stops.

Meeting of State Council Presidium


Vladimir Putin chaired a videoconference meeting of the State Council Presidium on the Strategy for Developing the Construction Industry and Housing and Utilities until 2030 with a forecast to 2035.

June 21, 2022
17:15

The Kremlin, Moscow

...
Another specific goal is to gradually, in eighteen to twenty-four months, complete the construction of previously frozen projects. See, we always talk about this – about frozen construction projects. Finally, we need to organise this in an appropriate way, to provide additional funding for these purposes, if necessary. After all, we have always managed to find solutions, even in the most difficult conditions, that we do not need to launch new projects as much as we need to complete the existing ones.

Of course, the situation with unfinished projects needs to be addressed because this is ”buried“ money that has not yielded results. Construction sites that have been frozen for years create inconvenience and problems for people and degrade the appearance of cities and towns.
....
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Here are some excerpts from Putin's opening address to the BRICS Business Forum.


Greetings to BRICS Business Forum participants


June 22, 2022
14:30

...
In this regard, I would like to recall that our countries are home to more than 3 billion people, and together account for about a quarter of the global GDP, 20 per cent of trade and roughly 25 per cent of direct investments, while the total international reserves of the BRICS countries (as of the beginning of 2022) amount to about 35 per cent of world reserves.

Hence the high relevance, in our opinion, of the theme of this Forum – Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development. It is also important that the agenda of the Forum is packed with truly crucial issues, such as ensuring sustainable growth of the global economy, preserving its openness, increasing cooperation in the field of digital economy, green growth, industry modernization, and building new transport and logistics chains.

Russia supports the draft Beijing Initiative to be adopted following the Forum, which reaffirms determination of BRICS business circles to continue close joint work in all the areas mentioned.

Entrepreneurs of our countries are forced to develop their business in a challenging environment when the Western partners neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, and inviolability of private property. They follow, in fact, an irresponsible macroeconomic course, including the launch of the “printing press” – uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debts.

At the same time more and more politically motivated sanctions are continuously introduced, mechanisms of exerting pressure on competitors are further strengthened. There is intentional destruction of cooperation ties; transport and logistics chains are destroyed. And all this is contrary to common sense and basic economic logic, it undermines business interests on a global scale, negatively affecting the wellbeing of people, in effect, of all countries.

As a result, the problems in the world economy become recurrent. What we see is an economic slowdown, growing unemployment, shortages in raw materials and components. Problems with ensuring global food security are getting worse; prices for grain crops and other basic agricultural products are being inflated.
...
Agricultural cooperation is developing dynamically. Russia exports considerable amounts of fertilizers to the BRICS states. Russian IT companies are expanding their activities in India and South Africa, and our satellites enable TV broadcasting for as many as 40 million residents of Brazil.

Together with BRICS partners, we are developing reliable alternative mechanisms for international settlements. The Russian Financial Messaging System is open for connection with the banks of the BRICS countries. The Russian MIR payment system is expanding its presence. We are exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of BRICS currencies.
...
We are actively engaged in redirecting our trade flows and foreign economic contacts to reliable international partners, first of all, the BRICS countries.
...
 
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Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Putin's opening speech at the BRICS+ meeting. (BRICS= Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa if you didn't know.)

BRICS+ meeting


Vladimir Putin attended a BRICS+ meeting involving the leaders of several invited states, held via videoconference.

June 24, 2022
17:30

Moscow Region

The meeting’s topic is Foster Partnership for Global Development in a New Era Towards Joint Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Taking part in the BRICS+ meeting were President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of Brazil Hamilton Mourao, President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, President of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri Yaakob, President of Senegal Macky Sall, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama, and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed.

* * *

Speech by the President of the Russian Federation at the BRICS+ meeting

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,

First, I would like to welcome the guests of the BRICS Summit and express gratitude to President Xi Jinping for organising this meeting in such a broad format.

We believe that it is very useful to hold BRICS+ meetings attended by the leaders of states that are interested in developing mutually beneficial cooperation with our association based on a similarity of views on current global political and economic issues and ways of dealing with them.

It is notable that the leaders of the countries who are attending our meeting today stand for developing a truly democratic multipolar world order based on the principles of equality, justice and mutual respect where global trade and finance are free from obstacles and politically driven restrictions.

I would like to point out that the importance of interaction with our partners who share our values has increased dramatically amid the current imbalances in international relations. This situation has been developing for a long time and is the inevitable result of a policy of those who advocate a so-called liberal world order towards eroding international law and undermining multilateral institutions. Seeking to preserve their domination, some countries have been working consistently to replace the existing global architecture that relies on the central role of the United Nations with a rules-based order. But it is not clear who invented these rules and what they are.

Attempts to hinder the development of the states that are unwilling to live according to somebody’s rules and the reckless use of illegal sanctions instruments, compounded by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, have aggravated the downturn in the global economy.


Global trade is deeply mired in disputes, the settlement of which is deviating increasingly further from WTO norms and principles. Our colleagues mentioned the WTO today, but we know well what turn the situation within that organisation has taken over the past years. The international monetary system is being destabilised, and industrial, logistics and investment chains are being broken.

Rapid price increases for food, energy and commodities is having a serious socioeconomic effect, especially on the development of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Colleagues and friends, I would like to stress once again: this is not the result of the past few months and by no means a consequence of Russia’s special military operation to protect Donbass.

Once again, this jump in inflation did not happen yesterday. It has been happening over the past several years as a result of the long-term, and I want to stress this, irresponsible macroeconomic policy of the G7 countries, uncontrolled money creation and accumulated unsecured debts. This process was accelerated by the pandemic when both the supply and demand for goods and services drastically dropped on a global scale.


The food market has been disrupted most severely. I said this at the recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum, and I want to say it again: they printed money, distributed it in their wealthy countries and, like a vacuum cleaner, started scooping up all the food from the global market. Only recently, the United States was a food exporter – a net exporter – but now, I think, their imports are about US$17 billion more than their exports. This is a dismal indicator for food markets around the world.

Meanwhile, the soaring cost of essential agricultural commodities such as grain has hit the developing countries and markets the hardest as this is where bread and flour are vital for the survival of most of the population.

I think it was French Queen Marie Antoinette who, looking over a crowd of starving citizens from her palace, reportedly said with indifference: “If they have no bread let them eat cake.”

This is the same cynicism that certain Western countries are now showing by destabilising the global production of agricultural products and dealing with this matter by restricting, for example, supplies of Russian and Belarusian fertilisers and impeding exports of Russian grain to world markets. Speaking of which, we are expecting a good harvest. God willing, everything will be fine and, if we supply 37 million tonnes to the world market this year, we would most likely be able to supply 50 million tonnes of grain. However, it is becoming more difficult to insure the transport that carries grain, bulk carriers, transactions under trade contracts, and so on.

At the same time, they are artificially fuelling hysterics over, say, the suspension of Ukrainian grain shipments via Black Sea ports. Meanwhile, according to American, and our, estimates, this is about 5 or 6 million tonnes of wheat plus 7 million tonnes of corn – this is something, but it does not resolve the problems in the world grain market.

But that’s not even the point. I have said publicly many times, and want to emphasise again, that Russia is not preventing the export of Ukraine’s grain from its territory; we are ready to ensure safe passage of grain ships via international waters if, of course, the Ukrainian military demines the ports and nearby waters.

In addition, we have a relevant understanding with representatives of the UN Secretariat. As before, we lack one thing – a constructive approach from the current Kiev authorities.

I would like to emphasise that Russia is a major and responsible participant in the world food market. We are certainly willing to continue fulfilling our contractual obligations on the supply of agricultural products, fertiliser, energy and other critical commodities in good faith.

I would like to note that Russia continues rendering humanitarian aid to many countries that need it. Russia recently delivered foodstuffs to Lebanon, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Sudan and others, without cost.

Colleagues,

I would like to note again that we have every opportunity to build up practical cooperation between the BRICS countries and its partners, the countries represented here. We feel your mutual interest in maintaining close business contacts.

It is equally important for BRICS to expand cooperation with regional associations like ASEAN, the African Union, the Association of Caribbean States, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Of course, serious potential is opening up for cooperation between our states in the context of working in the integration processes between the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s huge One Belt One Road infrastructure and trade project.

In general, we are convinced that many serious problems on the global agenda can and must be resolved only by pooling efforts, and this summit is an example of constructive work in this respect.

Thank you for your attention.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
In this transcript, the two Presidents spoke of security threats and fertiliser. I focused only on the security issue. Lukashenko seemed pretty agitated. Just be aware of the date.

Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko


Vladimir Putin held a meeting with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the Constantine Palace.

June 25, 2022
18:10

St Petersburg

...
Alexander Lukashenko: ... We are very concerned about the situation and the policy pursued by our neighbours. You are aware that this is mostly the leaders of Poland and Lithuania. A confrontation policy. You also get enough from them, especially in Ukraine: we noted that the greatest number of mercenaries have recently been those from Poland. I do not understand why they want it, the confrontation, but clearly they are pushed by those standing behind them and the like. Nevertheless, the policy is appalling and their behaviour is aggressive.

The same is true of Lithuania. Recently there has been an increase in the flow of reports about their intention to curb Russian transit across Belarus to Kaliningrad, to isolate Kaliningrad. Look, this amounts to a declaration of war; such actions are unacceptable in the modern world.

We are very concerned about training flights by the US and NATO airplanes, which practice carrying nuclear warheads and nuclear weapons. This causes us great concern.

Therefore, I ask you to consider an equivalent response to these actions, without overdoing it. They are training for carrying nuclear warheads. Will you please help us to adjust some of our planes, I think we have the Su-35 planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons? I am not saying we will or you will bring nuclear weapons there tomorrow, but this is no joke, we remember 1941, when they kept trying to lull us into a false sense of security: everything will be fine, all is quiet, nobody will attack you. But in the end we were unprepared for that. That is why it is a grave situation for us, and this is not the first time I raise this question with you. I know that it was considered by the Defence Ministry.

I would like to hear how things are going to unfold in this respect. I will not hide it: I raise the issue of being ready for anything, including the use of the most serious weapons so as to protect our Fatherland from Brest to Vladivostok. This is our immediate responsibility. Especially in view of their training, you also know about it, the US flights with their NATO partners. If they are training, they probably have a plan, otherwise what is the use of practicing.

Generally speaking, we must discuss a set of questions on defence and security today so that our people understand that they, Russians and Belarusians, are reliably protected.

Vladimir Putin: ... As to security issues, indeed, the Americans have 200 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, mostly atomic bombs. Two hundred of them are in six European countries, members of NATO, the North Atlantic bloc. To use these weapons, 257 planes have been prepared – and they are not only US planes but also of those countries I mentioned.

Alexander Lukashenko
: Outside the United States.

Vladimir Putin: Outside the United States, in Europe.

Alexander Lukashenko: Meanwhile, Russia does not have a single base of this kind.

Vladimir Putin: Russia has none.

You said we could reciprocate. We could, but you and we probably should not respond – there is not need.

However, I totally agree with you that we must take care of our unconditional security, the security of the Union State and maybe even that of the other CSTO member countries.

Therefore, I suggest the following. The Belarusian Army has a fairly big number of Su-25 planes. They can be respectively re-equipped.

Alexander Lukashenko
: Su-25 planes?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, Su-25. They could have additional equipment installed. This upgrade must be done at aviation plants in Russia but we will decide how to do that. And to begin training of aircrews. This is number one.

And second. As we had agreed on the issue you raised, a decision was made in our country: within the next several months, we will transfer to Belarus the Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which are known to use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both conventional and nuclear.

I suggest we issue instructions to our defence ministries and chiefs of general staffs to work out all the details concerning these joint efforts.

Alexander Lukashenko: Yes, I completely agree.

Vladimir Putin: Settled, then.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
This Q&A concluded the 6th Caspian Summit. No highlighting. I'd end up highlighting too much.

Vladimir Putin answered journalists’ questions


In conclusion of his working visit to Turkmenistan, Vladimir Putin answered questions from media representatives.

June 29, 2022
23:25

Ashgabat

...

Question: The keynote of the G7 summit in Germany was punishing Russia as much as possible. Also, jokes were made about, I apologise, your naked torso. Everybody had a go, including the Prime Minister of Canada, who suggested dropping jackets to be cooler than Putin. Here, at the Caspian Summit, did you by any chance discuss anything like that?

Also, Boris Johnson said that if the Russian President were a woman, there would be no war. What do you think about that?

Vladimir Putin: I do not know how much they wanted to take off, to only bare their tops or also bottoms. But I think it would have been a disgusting sight anyway. I would like to quote Pushkin here. I may be wrong with the details but he said something to the effect that “You can be a sensible person and think about the beauty of your nails.” So, obviously, I agree with that: everything should be balanced in a person, both body and soul should be taken care of. To achieve this, one should refrain from drinking too much and other bad habits. It’s important to exercise and keep fit.

The colleagues you mentioned, I know them all personally. It is not the best period in our relationship, clearly. Nevertheless, they are all leaders, which means they have strong characters. If only they set their minds to it, they can achieve success, of course. But it takes effort. The mere fact that they are talking about it is good and I can praise them for that.

Now, to the second part of the question. Did you say Johnson? I do not want to elaborate on what could have been, I simply want to remind you about the events in recent history, when Margaret Thatcher made a decision to start a military operation against Argentina for the Falklands. There was a woman who decided to start a military operation. Where are the Falkland Islands and where is Great Britain? The decision was dictated by nothing but imperial ambitions and the goal was to reaffirm the country’s imperial status.

Therefore, I think that, at any rate, it is not exactly a good jab from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the current events.

Question: The NATO summit has begun with the war-mongering rhetoric. Russia has been declared a “direct threat” to the security of the Alliance. Stoltenberg admitted that NATO had been rearing for confrontation with Russia since 2014. The Prime Minister of Belgium said that Ukraine must win and that it must do this on the battlefront, which has allegedly been coordinated with the Ukrainian authorities.

How would you assess these statements? And how should we regard them?

Vladimir Putin: We should regard it as a fact. As regards their preparations for some actions against us since 2014, this information is not new to us. It explains our decisive actions to protect our interests. They have long been looking for an external enemy, for a threat that would rally their allies. I am referring above all to the United States.

Iran is not quite right for that role. Russia is much better. They see us as a chance to rally their allies in a new historical period. There is nothing new in this for us. This is fresh proof of what we have been saying all along: that NATO is a relic of the past, of the Cold War era. They always replied that NATO had changed, that it had become more of a political alliance, but at the same time they were looking for an opportunity to give it a new lease on life as a military organisation. Well, this is exactly what they are doing now. There is nothing new in this for us.

Question: The NATO summit has begun with the war-mongering rhetoric. Russia has been declared a “direct threat” to the security of the Alliance. Stoltenberg admitted that NATO had been rearing for confrontation with Russia since 2014. The Prime Minister of Belgium said that Ukraine must win and that it must do this on the battlefront, which has allegedly been coordinated with the Ukrainian authorities.

How would you assess these statements? And how should we regard them?

Vladimir Putin: We should regard it as a fact. As regards their preparations for some actions against us since 2014, this information is not new to us. It explains our decisive actions to protect our interests. They have long been looking for an external enemy, for a threat that would rally their allies. I am referring above all to the United States.

Iran is not quite right for that role. Russia is much better. They see us as a chance to rally their allies in a new historical period. There is nothing new in this for us. This is fresh proof of what we have been saying all along: that NATO is a relic of the past, of the Cold War era. They always replied that NATO had changed, that it had become more of a political alliance, but at the same time they were looking for an opportunity to give it a new lease on life as a military organisation. Well, this is exactly what they are doing now. There is nothing new in this for us.

Question: What about Ukraine’s victory?

Vladimir Putin: As for Ukraine’s victory, we are aware of this as well. Ukraine conducted talks with us, sometimes better than at other times. We made certain arrangements at some point, but later they, pardon the expression, chucked them. The calls to Ukraine to continue fighting and to abandon any further negotiations reaffirm our supposition that the united West and NATO do not care for Ukraine or the interests of the Ukrainian people, and that their goal is to protect their own interests. In other words, NATO and the leading members of the alliance are using Ukraine and the Ukrainian people to reinforce their positions and their role in the world, not to reaffirm their leadership but their hegemonism in the direct meaning of the word, their imperial ambitions. This is what they want. What they have always said about their exceptionalism, the idea they tried to impress on the international community that those who are not with them are against them – all this are manifestations of the same policy. This is not new to us.

Question: Mr President, Turkey has abandoned its convictions on the issue of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO. Will that decision have any effect on Russia-Turkey relations? What will Russia do now, especially in light of Stoltenberg’s statement that you wanted less NATO on Russia’s borders but got the opposite: more NATO.

Vladimir Putin: I am aware of this premise, which is wrong and bears no relation to reality. Our position has always been, as I have already said during this conversation today, that NATO is a relic of the Cold War and is only being used as an instrument of US foreign policy designed to keep its client states in rein. This is its only mission. We have given them that opportunity, I understand that. They are using these arguments energetically and quite effectively to rally their so-called allies. This is the first point.

On the other hand, regarding Sweden and Finland, we do not have such problems with Sweden and Finland as we have, regrettably, with Ukraine. We do not have territorial issues or disputes with them. There is nothing that could inspire our concern regarding Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO. If they want it, they can do it.

However, they should know that they did not face any threats before but, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed in their territory now, we will have to take mirror-like actions and create the same threats for them that are created for us. This is obvious. Don’t they understand this? Everything was good between us before, but now there will be tension, which is obvious and certainly unavoidable if, as I have said, any threats are created for us.

As for the assumption that we were fighting against NATO approaching us through Ukraine but now have Sweden and Finland to deal with, there is no substance behind it at all, because Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership is not at all the same as the potential membership of Ukraine. These are two different things. They know this very well, but they are promoting this idea to show that Russia has received more of what it did not want to have. No, this is entirely different, and we are aware of that. And they are aware of that. They are trying to substitute these notions, to show that Russia has not attained its goals. But this will not deceive us.

If Sweden and Finland want to join NATO, let them do it. You know, there are rude jokes about stepping into unsavoury things. This is their business. Let them step into what they wish. But Ukraine is a totally different matter. They were turning Ukraine into an anti-Russia, a bridgehead for trying to stir up Russia itself. They began fighting Russian culture and the Russian language, they began to persecute those who regarded themselves part of the Russian world. There is nothing like that in Finland or Sweden; the situation is completely different. If they want to join [the bloc], they are free to do it.

Question: Today Lev Leshchenko said that he was willing to perform a song about the heroes of the special operation. Ilya Reznik has already written lyrics. The other day I came back from Lugansk where Head of the Lugansk People’s Republic Pasechnik proposed making a film. He pitched his idea to Vladimir Mashkov who was immediately inspired by it. We remember the role that Soviet art played during the Great Patriotic War. What do you think about these ideas and proposals?

Vladimir Putin: It is a good idea. You see, the guys who are performing their combat duty there, fighting, risking their lives, some actually losing their lives, they are sacrificing themselves for the goals of this military operation. They are protecting people in Donbass, protecting Russia’s interests and ensuring the security of our country. Don’t we realise this? I have said it many times before: if an anti-Russia foothold is established at our borders, we will be constantly under this threat, under this sword of Damocles. So, these guys are performing a crucial mission to ensure the security of Russia and, of course, they deserve to be known and talked about around the country. Not only do I support such ideas (this is the first time I have heard about this), but I think that we should write songs and poems and build monuments to these heroes.

Question: Mr President, have the goals of the special operation changed since it began? What is the current goal? Do you understand when all this will end?

Vladimir Putin: Nothing has changed, of course. I talked about it in the early morning on February 24. I talked about it directly and publicly for the entire country and the world to hear. I have nothing to add. Nothing has changed. Also back then, several days into the operation, I said that the tactics may be different, the tactics proposed by the Defence Ministry and the General Staff, with respect to where the troops must move and what targets must be hit, what must be achieved when several groups entered central Ukraine and what must be achieved in Donbass. The Kiev regime had been preparing for that for a long time, since 2014. Therefore, we needed to take certain action to distract them.

Yes, I am the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, but I have not graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff. I trust professionals. They are doing what they consider necessary to attain the overall goal. I have formulated the overall goal, which is to liberate Donbass, protect its people and create conditions that will guarantee the security of Russia itself. That is all. We are working calmly and steadily. As you can see, our forces are moving forward and attaining the objectives that have been set for the particular period of the engagement. We are proceeding according to plan.

We are not speaking about any deadlines. I never speak about them, because this is life, this is reality. It would be wrong to make things fit any framework, because, as I have already said, the issue concerns combat intensity, which is directly connected with possible losses. And we must think above all about saving our guys’ lives.

Question: May I ask about the terrorist attack, well, not an attack but the explosion at the shopping centre in Kremenchug in Ukraine? There are different versions.

Vladimir Putin: There was no terrorist attack there nor an explosion.

I was here, so I do not know the details. What I know, and what we have pointed out many times and we have shown the footage, including from drones, that weapons, MLRS, artillery guns and heavy weapons are deployed in residential districts and other places. We are not shooting at empty fields. We usually shoot at targets that have been identified.

I am sure that this is what happened in this case as well. They are hiding the equipment, especially equipment delivered from the West, in hangars, at outdoor markets, at plants and in the shops where this equipment is repaired or adjusted after a long period of transportation from foreign countries.

The Russian army does not strike at civilian facilities. There is no need for that. We have the possibility of identifying the targets, and we have modern long-distance precision weapons to attack them. Of course, I will find out the details when I return to Moscow.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
In this meeting, Putin clarifies where some sanctions are being laid and how that affects exporting specifically food and fertilisers.

Meeting with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo


Vladimir Putin is holding talks in the Kremlin with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, who is on a visit to Russia.

June 30, 2022
15:50

The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,

I am very happy to see you in Russia, in Moscow. I know this is your first visit to our country.

Indonesia is one of the countries with which we have developed very good ties after establishing diplomatic relations over the decades. Importantly, we are developing our relations in all areas, such as the economy, politics and security and, of course, the efforts to counter the threat of terrorism.

Last year, our trade increased by 42 percent and it has been growing even faster this year.

I know Indonesia is interested in developing relations with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and we decided in May to start the process of its rapprochement with this regional organisation.

This year, you will chair a meeting of the G20 and next year you will be in charge of ASEAN.

I am confident that we will focus on all of these issues today.

When we talked by telephone, you expressed concern over and interest in the issues of settling the crisis in Ukraine, in Donbass. Naturally, I will tell you in detail about everything that is happening there and about our perspective on this problem.

Welcome, Mr President!

President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo (retranslated): Mr President, thank you for this meeting.

We met in Sochi in 2016. This time I am visiting in Moscow, not only as President of Indonesia, but also as Chair of the G20. As Chair of the G20, Indonesia will continue to strive to strengthen the group in the current difficult situation, to fight the pandemic, as well as to ensure that the G20 continues to be a catalyst in the global economic recovery.

I would like to say a few things. I appreciate that you started talking to us about this situation, because the war has had a huge impact on food. This war has had an impact not only on Indonesia, but also on world communities, because Russia and Ukraine are among the world's bread baskets. Therefore, efforts to restore global supply chains are futile without integrating Russian food and fertiliser supplies and Ukrainian grain supplies. In this regard, I hope that Russia will not extend the ban on the export of grain, including wheat, and will not introduce quotas or restrictions on fertilisers.

Three days ago, during negotiations with the G7 countries, I asked them for guarantees that Russian food and fertilisers would be exempt from sanctions.

Vladimir Putin: Mr President, the questions you have raised are extremely important. I would like to note right away that we do not have any restrictions on the export of fertilisers. At the beginning of last year, we thought about providing our own agriculture with fertilisers as a matter of priority. But today, the level of fertiliser production in Russia is so high that we do not have any restrictions on the supply of this product to foreign markets.

The same goes for food. The world produces 800 million tonnes of wheat. Russia supplied over 40 million tonnes of grain to foreign markets last year. This year, we will be ready to supply about 50 million tonnes.

As for wheat, Russia is an uncontested number one supplier to world markets.

Problems with the export of Ukrainian grain have been widely discussed of late. According to the US Department of Agriculture, they have 6 million tonnes of wheat. According to our information, it’s only about 5 million. Compared with the global production of 800 million tonnes, that amount clearly does not make much difference for world markets. It is only about 2.5 percent. And if we take all the food produced in the world, it’s 0.5 percent. Nevertheless, it is important, but we are not obstructing the export of Ukrainian grain. The Ukrainian military authorities have mined the approaches to their ports; no one prevents them from clearing the mines and letting ships with grain depart from those ports. We guarantee their security.

In addition, there are other export opportunities: via Romania, the Danube and then across the Black Sea, via Poland, via Belarus, and via the ports on the Sea of Azov. I have told our friends from the African Union about this in detail. We also maintain close working contacts on this issue with the relevant UN body, UNCTAD [United Nations Conference on Trade and Development], which has assumed the responsibility to negotiate this issue with representatives of the EU and the United States.

The problem is that those countries have imposed sanctions against some of our seaports, created difficulties with cargo insurance and freighting. All this creates certain impediments on the food and fertiliser markets. I repeat that all these matters are being discussed with the direct involvement of UN Secretary-General [Antonio] Guterres. Top Russian Government officials and I are in constant working contact with our colleagues at the UN. I understand your concerns, Mr President, and I am ready to inform you in more detail about our efforts on this track, so that we could contribute to providing world markets with food and fertilisers.

Joko Widodo (retranslated): Mr President, is there such a possibility, is there such an approach where there is no security? We also said at the G7 meeting that food and fertilisers are not included in the sanctions.

Vladimir Putin:
Formally, they are not included in the sanctions; this is true. But the owners of our companies that produce fertilisers, and even their family members, have been put on the sanction lists. This makes it difficult to conclude contracts and complicated financial transactions. They have imposed sanctions on cargo insurance. That is, they have not formally imposed any sanctions on the products, but they have created a situation where it is much more difficult now to supply these products to foreign markets.

Belarus is a leader in fertiliser supplies. But direct sanctions have been imposed on Belarusian fertilisers.
Together with Belarus, Russia produces 25 percent of fertilisers, and supplies 45 percent to the market.

On top of that, the problem has absolutely nothing to do with our military operation in Donbass, in Ukraine. It all began a year ago and was caused by Western countries’ erroneous energy policies. Gas prices rose sharply due to some obvious mistakes in the energy sector – and natural gas is commonly used for fertiliser production. With high gas prices, many companies had to shut down because it was economically unfeasible to produce gas-based products.

As for food, as Western countries tried to alleviate the effects of the pandemic, they resorted to emissions, increasing their budget deficits and wiping out food from world markets with that new money. That naturally sent food prices up.


For example, in the past, the United States supplied more food to the world market than it imported. Now they buy $17 billion more than they sell. That is, they have printed and distributed money – and are using those dollars to buy food. That is spurring the prices on, and developing countries find themselves in the worst position in this regard.

We have been debating all these matters with them in absentia. You can debate all you want, but now some action needs to be taken lest the situation becomes tragic. I hope that during the preparations for the G20 meeting, you will also be able to work with us, with other interested countries and with the United Nations.

Thank you.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
I've copied the whole speech, which initially reads like a fairly standard congratulatory address to FIS members and veterans, but drops a no-nonsense, over-arching view of the global situation and where he sees it going. "One should not indulge in wishful thinking."

Vladimir Putin congratulated current staff and veterans of the Foreign Intelligence Service on the centenary of illegal intelligence


The President laid flowers at the Fatherland, Valour Honour monument at the Foreign Intelligence Service headquarters in Moscow and congratulated the Service’s current staff and veterans on the centenary of illegal intelligence.

June 30, 2022
20:00

Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, veterans,

We have gathered to mark an important date – the centenary of illegal intelligence in our country. Back in 1922, this sphere of work was virtually restored despite all the revolutionary upheavals, ensuring continuity in an area that is vital for our state, national security and sovereignty.

I would like to cordially congratulate all those for whom working in this critical area was their calling and destiny; those who defended our country’s national interests without any diplomatic or other cover for years and decades; and all those who conduct unique operations today, transmitting precious information to the Centre.

Your department has a rich history and glorious traditions. In the 1930s and early 1940s, undercover agents acquired time-sensitive information about the aggression planned by Hitler and his supporters as well as the backstage manoeuvring of Western countries that pushed the Nazis to attack the USSR, to march to the East.

After the start of the Great Patriotic War, undercover agents revealed the enemy’s plans, hastening the Great Victory. During the Cold War, they made an enormous contribution to achieving strategic parity. They provided invaluable assistance in developing domestic industry and science, helped build up the Motherland’s defence capabilities, and added to its international influence and prestige.

The names of Yakov Serebryansky and Naum Etingon, Dmitry Bystrolyotov and Konon Molody, the Vartanians, Alexei Botyan and other fighters of the invisible front are forever in the history of our country, our security services and intelligence. They are an example of professionalism and personal bravery for the current and future generations of intelligence officers.

And these days, work in this area is filled with great responsibility, officers facing extremely tough requirements.

The situation in the world remains difficult and changes rapidly. We have to deal with non-conventional problems and many unknown variables, and respond to challenges in which the factor of uncertainty is high.

In this situation, the Foreign Intelligence Service and other security services prioritise strategic forecasting of international processes. And this analysis must be realistic, objective and based on verified information and a wide range of reliable sources.

One should not indulge in wishful thinking. By the way, the so-called collective West has found itself trapped, has driven itself into this exact trap and in its own actions proceeds from the idea that there is no alternative to its model of liberal globalism. Essentially, this model is just an updated rendition of neocolonialism and nothing else. It is a world the American way, a world for the chosen where everybody else's rights are simply trampled upon.

Clear proof of that is the fate of many countries and peoples in the Middle East and other regions in the world – and millions of people in Ukraine today who are being cynically used by the West as expendable material in its geopolitical games, in its attempts to “deter” Russia. Speaking of which, what does it mean, to deter? To prevent us from developing at the right rate and on our own foundation of traditional values. Is it deterrence? It is just a fight against Russia.

Meanwhile, the West is trying to ignore an inconvenient reality, the forming of a multi-polar world order. Obviously, they cannot fully look away from these objective tendencies. But in their practical policy, they are guided by one goal, which is to maintain their dominance by any means.

The dogmatic attitudes of the past and unwillingness to face up to reality is inevitably increasing the risk of premature, impulsive actions on the part of the West in the future. At the same time, this offers new opportunities to Russia and likeminded countries – as you know, there are quite a few of them. It is true that some of them are not eager to speak out, but they are roughly on the same wavelength with us. There are many likeminded countries, peoples and nations that would like to go their own way based on the principles of true multilateralism.

Of course, we need to conduct a separate discussion on a model and vision of the future and an agenda that will not separate but unite humankind. I believe that it is important to dedicate one of my future public addresses to this subject or possibly choose some other format.

Today I would like to emphasise that multipolarity is, in my opinion, the main thing. I would like to point out that multipolarity, as we understand it, means above all freedom. The freedom of countries and nations and their inherent right to their own way of development and to the preservation of their identity and unique character. In this model of the world there should be no place for diktat
[a harsh, unilaterally imposed settlement with a defeated party; an authoritative or dogmatic statement or decree.], stereotypes or the ideals of exceptionalism enforced by individual countries or blocs.

I would like to repeat that it is important to see the overall picture against the background of ongoing fundamental transformations and to use this to act proactively. A great deal depends, of course, on you, on your work and its quality. I am referring first of all to national security and prompt provision of information about the military and geostrategic plans of certain states and their associations, which pose or can pose a direct threat to our country.

Constant attention must be given to the situation in the global economy and finance. It is important to study the situation and basic trends in the global markets, to work out the possible consequences of the steps and decisions that bear on the interests of Russia and Russian business, as well as our integration and international projects.

As before, one of the priorities of the Foreign Intelligence Service is to provide assistance to the industrial and technological development of our country and to the strengthening of its defence potential. This is always important, but especially so in conditions of the sanctions pressure put on Russia. Incidentally, as all of us know very well, our country always lived under sanctions during the Soviet period and even before it. One way or another, attempts were always made to contain us.

Another key objective on our agenda is the fight against international terrorism. It concerns, in part, information support for the Russian units deployed in Syria, the identification of the routes along which weapons and money are delivered to terrorists and the location of their bases, command posts and training centres.

We must continue to pay attention to the safety of Russian citizens abroad, including on the American continent, in the West in general, and in the Middle East and Africa. I would like to note in this context that over the past few years the Foreign Intelligence Service has seriously enhanced its operational and information and analysis capabilities. Its human resources have increased. I am confident that you will do everything necessary to commendably fulfil all the tasks set to you. Like your legendary predecessors, you will work accurately and effectively and will serve our Fatherland and people honourably.

I would like to congratulate you once again. I wish you and your loved ones all the best, good health and professional achievements.

Thank you.

My congratulations.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Information already known, now, about the 'strategic retreat' of the AFU from Lugansk.


Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu


July 4, 2022
13:30

The Kremlin, Moscow

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,

Since June 19, formations and units of the Centre Group under the command of Colonel General Alexander Lapin, in co-operation with units of the Second People's Militia Corps of the Lugansk People's Republic and supported by the southern group of forces led by Army General Sergei Surovikin, have successfully carried out an offensive operation to liberate the Lugansk People's Republic.

Within two weeks, they encircled and destroyed the groups in the Gorskoye cauldron, around Lisichansk and Severodonetsk. Twenty-five localities have been taken under control, the largest of which are Severodonetsk, Zolotoye, Gorskoye and Volcheyarovka. The operation ended yesterday with the liberation of Lisichansk, one of the largest towns in the Lugansk People's Republic. A total of 670 square kilometres of territory were taken under control during the active offensive.

The total losses of the Ukrainian armed forces amounted to 5,469 personnel, including 2,218 killed and 3,251 wounded; 196 tanks and other armoured vehicles, 12 aircraft, one helicopter, 69 drones, six long-range surface-to-air missile systems, 97 multiple rocket launchers, 166 field and mortar artillery pieces and 216 vehicles of various purposes.

When retreating from Lisichansk, the enemy abandoned 39 tanks and other armoured vehicles, 11 guns and mortars, 48 Javelins and NLAW anti-tank missile systems, 18 Stinger systems, and three unmanned aerial vehicles.

Today the demining of the city of Lisichansk and its environs is underway, as is the delivery of humanitarian cargo, as well as the provision of medical assistance to civilians.


The Russian Armed Forces are continuing the special military operation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.

...
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Here is a selection from Putin's opening speech at the State Duma meeting. Another solid summery of current events with acknowledgement of support for Russia, at the individual level, from all over the world and how people are waking up to the situation they are in.

Later, it was revealed by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin that Russia has had at least 11,160 sanctions imposed onto it.

Meeting with State Duma leaders and party faction heads


At the Kremlin, in the St Catherine Hall, the President met with the leaders of the State Duma and the heads of party factions in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

July 7, 2022
20:50

The Kremlin, Moscow

...
In a short time, as soon as in early March, several packages of anti-sanction measures were introduced in close contact with the Government. Thanks to these packages, the consequences of the Western countries’ unfriendly and clearly hostile actions were minimised. Indeed, we understand and know this, we see that these illegal measures against Russia are clearly creating difficulties for us, but not as great as the initiators of this economic blitzkrieg against Russia were counting on.

Clearly, they tried to do more than just hit the Russian economy hard. Their goal was to sow discord and confusion in our society and to demoralise people. But here too, they failed since nothing came of it, and I am sure nothing ever will.

In this regard, the example of the Russian parliament as the highest representative body is quite telling. The policy of the parliament is based on the will of the people of Russia, our firm position and conviction that we are on the right side of history, on the unwavering resolve of the vast majority of the country's citizens to uphold Russia's sovereignty and to help our people in Donbass. This is what underlies the policy of our state in general.

The so-called collective West led by the United States has been extremely aggressive towards Russia for decades. Our proposals to create a system of equal security in Europe have been rejected. Initiatives for cooperation on the issue of missile defence were rejected. Warnings about the unacceptability of NATO expansion, especially at the expense of the former republics of the Soviet Union, were ignored. Even the idea of Russia's possible integration into this North Atlantic alliance at the stage of our, as it seemed then, cloudless relations with NATO, apparently, seemed absurd to its members.

Why? Just because they do not need a country like Russia, that is why. That is why they supported terrorism and separatism in Russia, and internal destructive forces and a ‘fifth column’ in our country. All of them are still receiving unconditional support from the collective West.

We are being told, we hear some people say that we started the war in Donbass, in Ukraine. No, the war was unleashed by the collective West, which organised and supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine in 2014, and then encouraged and justified genocide against the people of Donbass. The collective West is the direct instigator and the culprit of what is happening today.

If the West wanted to provoke a conflict in order to move on to a new stage in the fight against Russia and a new stage in containing our country, we can say that it has succeeded to a certain extent. A war was unleashed, and the sanctions were imposed. Under normal circumstances, it would probably be difficult to accomplish this.

But here is what I would you like to make clear. They should have realised that they would lose from the very beginning of our special military operation, because this operation also means the beginning of a radical breakdown of the US-style world order. This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world based not on self-serving rules made up by someone for their own needs, behind which there is nothing but striving for hegemony, not on hypocritical double standards, but on international law and the genuine sovereignty of nations and civilisations, on their will to live their historical destiny, with their own values and traditions, and to align cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality.

Everyone should understand that this process cannot be stopped. The course of history is inexorable, and the collective West’s attempts to impose its new world order on the rest of the world are doomed.

At the same time, I want to say and emphasise that we have many supporters, including in the United States and Europe, and even more so on other continents and in other countries. And there will be more, no doubt about that.

To reiterate, even in the countries that are still satellites of the United States, there is a growing understanding that their ruling elites’ blind obedience to their overlord, as a rule, does not necessarily coincide with their national interests, and most often simply and even radically contradicts them. Eventually, everyone will have to face this growing sentiment in society.

Today, these ruling elites are raising the degree to which they manipulate the public consciousness right before our eyes. The ruling classes of the Western countries, which are supranational and globalist in nature, realised that their policies are increasingly detached from reality, common sense and the truth, and they have started resorting to openly despotic methods.

The West, which once declared such principles of democracy as freedom of speech, pluralism and respect for dissenting opinions, has now degenerated into the opposite: totalitarianism. This includes censorship, media bans, and the arbitrary treatment of journalists and public figures.

These kinds of prohibitions have been extended not only to the information space, but also to politics, culture, education, and art – to all spheres of public life in the Western countries. And, they are imposing this on the world; they are trying to impose this model, a model of totalitarian liberalism, including the notorious cancel culture of widespread bans.

However, the truth and reality is that the people in most of these countries do not want this life or this future, and really do not want the formal semblance of sovereignty, they want substantive, real sovereignty and are simply tired of kneeling, of humiliating themselves before those who consider themselves exceptional, and of serving their interests even to their own detriment.

Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try. We have already heard a lot about the West wanting to fight us ”to the last Ukrainian.“ This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but that seems to be where it is going. But everyone should know that, by and large, we have not started anything in earnest yet.

At the same time, we are not rejecting peace talks, but those who are rejecting them should know that the longer it goes on, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us.
...
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
i have been getting behind in my reading again so I was focusing on that. After finally finishing Wave 8, I started in on FPtM which I have wanted to get to for awhile. Gonna take me a while.

Kremlin transcripts have been kinda quiet lately but the high level meetings in Iran ramped things up with a resolution of kicking the Americans out of Syria and allowing the country to become a sovereign state.

Meeting of the guarantor states of the Astana process to facilitate the Syrian settlement


Tehran is hosting a trilateral meeting between President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi and President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

July 19, 2022
22:00

Tehran

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the summit of the guarantor states of the Astana process

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Raisi, Mr Erdogan, colleagues,

First, I would like to thank President Raisi for inviting us to visit Tehran for our today’s meeting in the framework of the Astana process. Of course, it is best to talk in-person in this format, and now we have the opportunity to do so.


We hope to discuss in a practical and business-like spirit the urgent issues of stabilisation in Syria, and there are quite a few of them at present.

Overall, the joint efforts of Russia, Iran and Turkiye to facilitate the comprehensive settlement of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic are highly productive. Owing to the assistance and support of our countries, the level of violence in Syria has decreased significantly; peaceful life is returning and the country is gradually rebuilding its economy and social sphere.

And no less important, the real political and diplomatic process has been launched in line with Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council. We believe the Astana Troika must continue playing a key role in the efforts to achieve complete normalisation in Syria and establish durable peace and civil accord in the country.

Importantly, Russia proceeds from its firm commitment to the fundamental principles of unconditional respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.

We support the draft joint statement prepared for approval following the summit, which determines the priorities of cooperation in this trilateral format.

We believe our task for the near future is to agree on specific steps to promote the intra-Syrian inclusive political dialogue, that is, to implement our agreement on creating conditions that will allow the Syrians to determine their future themselves, without outside interference.

In fact, this is why our three states initiated the adoption of the decision to establish a Constitutional Committee at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in 2018. The Syrian parties achieved noticeable progress with support from Russia, Iran and Turkiye, and the participation of the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria. Importantly, the Syrians showed a willingness to come to terms, to search for and find consensus solutions on priority issues related to the future arrangement of their sovereign state.

I am convinced that our countries will continue promoting cooperation in the interests of the ultimate elimination of the remaining hotbeds of international terrorism on Syrian territory. It is necessary to put an end, once and for all, to the presence of ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria.

Let me stress that the situation on the territories outside the control of the Syrian government is particularly concerning. We see real threats of crime, extremism and separatism coming from those regions. This is largely allowed through the destructive policy of the Western states led by the US which are using a broad arsenal of political and economic measures, are strongly encouraging separatist sentiment in some areas of the country, as the President of Iran just mentioned, and plundering its natural resources with a view to ultimately pulling the Syrian state apart. So, it would be best to take extra steps in our trilateral format aimed at stabilising the situation in those areas and at returning control to the legitimate government of Syria.


I think it is important that Russia, Iran and Turkiye are making concerted efforts to render support to the Syrian people in the post-conflict recovery. We believe that everything needed must be done to restore the economy and social sphere, to return refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, and to create conditions for safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid for those who need it. And these activities must be continued, of course.

In addition, it is necessary to see that other members of the international community, the respective UN agencies, and international development institutions play a more substantial role in providing Syria with assistance without politicisation or any preconditions.

To conclude, I would like to express confidence that our talks will be useful and productive and the results will serve to enhance stability and security not only in Syria but also in the Middle East in general.

I would also like to note that the next Astana Troika summit is scheduled to be held in Russia, and we will definitely be happy to see all of you there.

Thank you for your attention.

Statement for media following Astana format talks


Following the trilateral talks, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkiye issued a statement for the media.

July 19, 2022
22:20

Tehran

A joint statement has been adopted following the summit.

* * *
President of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi (retranslated): In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, I would like to thank the journalists and media representatives, and all those present, especially our distinguished guests – the esteemed President of the friendly Russian Federation Mr Putin, and also President of the friendly and fraternal Republic of Turkiye, as well as the attending ministers and high-ranking officials of the two countries.

We held the seventh meeting of the Astana Process guarantor states. At this meeting, the presidents of the three countries covered various issues. The main provisions are as follows.

Firstly, we emphasised our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We are convinced of the need to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the entire country.

Thus, the presence of the Americans to the east of the Euphrates River cannot be justified, and they must leave this territory. All regions of Syria must be under the sovereignty of the lawful Syrian government.

All of us reaffirmed our commitment to the struggle against terrorism.
We emphasized the need for cooperation with all countries in countering terrorism. Today, terrorist movements pose a real threat to the region. The Islamic Republic of Iran has gained successful experience in fighting terrorist movements.

May Allah rest the soul of the deceased Qasem Soleimani, a symbol of tenacity, resistance and the struggle against terrorism.

All countries have worked to counter terrorism, but their serious resolve for this is again needed because of the concerns in Syria, in Idlib over the presence of terrorists. We are convinced that this resolve is the key to success in countering terrorism.


We reaffirmed the need to continue rendering humanitarian aid to the oppressed people of Syria. All parties also confirmed the need to work for resolving the economic problems in the Syrian nation, but steps that violate the sovereignty of Syria cannot be allowed. All adopted measures must provide for the preservation of its territorial integrity.

We also reaffirmed the need to denounce Israel’s attacks on Syria, to end them as soon as possible. These attacks on the people and the armed forces of Syria violate Syria’s sovereignty and must be stopped as soon as possible.

The cooperation of our three countries – Russia, Turkiye and Iran, including joint actions with the Syrian government – are still required in carrying out the declared plan to ensure Syria’s security.

We are confident that this meeting in the Astana Format has been successful. This format has become a positive response to the security challenges in Syria, and these efforts must be continued. Cooperation between Iran, Russia and Turkiye, as well as other countries in the region, will help us establish stability in Syria’s sovereignty as soon as possible with a view to creating peace in this country and allowing its people to live a normal life.

The need to create conditions for the early return of refugees is one of our confirmed provisions. People who had to flee to different countries need to return home as soon as possible. I hope to Allah, the conditions for their return will be ready.

We hope the cooperation of the guarantor states of the Astana Process along with other countries in the region will make it possible to establish calm in Syria as soon as possible.

I would like to thank again the journalists and our dear distinguished guests – the presidents of Russia and Turkiye.

I will now give the floor to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Raisi, Mr Erdogan, ladies and gentlemen,

This meeting of the heads of the Astana process guarantor states to facilitate the Syrian settlement was really useful and very substantive. Mr Raisi, Mr Erdogan and I held detailed discussions of our interaction on Syria in a business-like and constructive atmosphere.

We have adopted a joint statement to reaffirm our commitment to strengthening the trilateral cooperation of Russia, Iran and Turkiye in the interests of a lasting and sustainable normalisation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Our three states share the belief that the Syrian crisis can only be settled comprehensively through political and diplomatic methods based on intra-Syrian dialogue, which is stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and in strict compliance with the fundamental principles of respect for sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

The future of Syria will be determined by the Syrian people themselves without any enforcement of external formulas or models.


I would like to point out that today we have agreed with our Iranian and Turkish colleagues to continue with the practice of regular international expert consultations on Syria within the Astana format. Apart from delegations from our three countries, these consultations are also attended by Syrian parties, namely the government and the opposition, observer states – Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon – and UN representatives. In particular, it has been agreed that the next, 19th round of consultations will be held this year. Plans also provide for holding consultations by the foreign ministers of the Astana format countries.

Of course, much attention at the talks was paid to the activities of the Constitutional Committee. Let me remind you that this body was actually created through the coordinated efforts of diplomats from our three countries. It eventually brought together representatives of the Syrian government, the opposition and civil society, giving them the opportunity to engage in direct dialogue and reach agreement on the parameters of the future state structure of their own country.

Of course, we are ready to cooperate with our Iranian and Turkish partners and, in coordination with the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria, to continue to facilitate the steady and uninterrupted functioning of the committee in every possible way, while maintaining the Astana format's leading role in the Syrian settlement.

Today's meeting included a lengthy discussion of the counterterrorism agenda in Syria. The terrorist threat and the level of violence in the Syrian Arab Republic has been steadily decreasing in recent years thanks to the effective joint efforts by our three countries. The main forces of ISIS and other groups that had the run of that country have been defeated. The legitimate authorities have regained control of most of the country's territory.

Importantly, all participants supported continued cooperation in the fight against any manifestations of terrorism and extremism until the complete elimination of this threat in Syria and neighbouring countries. We will continue to closely monitor and effectively suppress any external forces’ attempts to use militants on Syrian territory to attain their own selfish geopolitical objectives in the Middle East or elsewhere.

This was the context for our discussion of the aggravated situation in northeastern Syria, east of the Euphrates, where, with the support of certain countries, attempts are being made to consolidate the illegal foreign military presence and incite separatist sentiments in violation of the Syrian state’s sovereignty.

Russia reaffirmed its principled approach: the area to the east of the Euphrates should return under the control of the legitimate government of Syria.


When considering humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, we agreed from the outset that such assistance should be carried out in strict accordance with international law and the UN Charter. It is important to help all Syrians without exception to return to normal life.

In this regard, we once again call on the international community, especially the UN humanitarian agency, to increase support for Syria through the implementation of projects to restore the core infrastructure, water and electricity supply, schools, hospitals, as well as mine clearance projects. The successful implementation of these jobs will create favourable conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of permanent residence.

...
[Putin highlights on bilateral talks with each of the other leaders.]
...

President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): My dear brother, Mr Raisi,

My dear brother, Mr Putin,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

...

The fight against terrorism and against international terrorist organisations is our priority. We, Turkiye, guarantee that our fight against ISIS, that our fight against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), the People's Protection Units and the Democratic Union Party will continue. We will not give up our resolve in this fight; we will never accept any justification for these terrorist groups’ activities. We will continue to fight whoever supports these terrorist groups.

Any force that poses a threat to our national security, to our borders, will be a target for our struggle. We will continue to fight them on all fronts. I hope that the international community and our colleagues in the Astana Format will help us in this effort.

We have discussed the steps we can take at this point in the current situation, because the problem with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the YPG – the People's Protection Units, the PYD – the Democratic Union Party – is a common problem. We must work together to combat this common problem.

A full Syrian settlement can only be achieved through political means. No military solution to this problem will endure. We have discussed the possible steps that should be taken in the near future to resolve this problem and to establish a stable peace in Syria. We will make every effort to expedite the political steps to resolve the Syrian problem.

The only mechanism that currently includes all parties to the conflict in Syria is the Constitutional Committee, which is also a product and the fruit of the Astana Three’s efforts. It is also the only mechanism that contributes to the stabilisation of the country.

We insist that the ninth meeting of the Constitutional Committee be held as soon as possible to comprehensively discuss the existing articles of agreement within the framework established by the United Nations. We believe that the Constitutional Committee must ensure that all the legitimate rights of the Syrian people are upheld and all their legitimate demands are met. And we hope that Syria, the Syrian regime will also promote greater activity of the Constitutional Committee.

To be continued. [It's been 3 days. I also don't know how much more is going to be said that will be of interest.]

The bulk of the following media transcript is of Putin basically summerising the energy crisis in some detail, which followed some Syria questions.

Vladimir Putin answered media questions


In conclusion of his working visit to Iran, Vladimir Putin answered questions from the media.

July 19, 2022
23:55

Tehran

Question: Mr President, some would think the world has forgotten about Syria amid the numerous issues on the international agenda. But we have seen today that this is not so.

We would like to hear your views on the situation on the ground in Syria. A great deal has been said today about points of contact, but there are many differences as well. Have you discussed or coordinated any fundamentally new solutions today? I am referring primarily to these differences.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: What I would like to begin with is not the differences but the fundamental issues that allow us to work and continue our efforts in the trilateral format. All of us believe that it [is] necessary to guarantee the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to eliminate all sorts of terrorists, which I will not enumerate here. This is the fundamental and the most important thing, as we have pointed out again in our joint statement. I believe that this is very important.

Yes, there are certain differences, which is obvious, but all of us support the constitutional process. Thanks to our efforts, we have brought together various conflicting parties at one negotiating platform, including the opposition and the official authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic, experts and representatives of public organisations, as well as the UN. I believe this is extremely important. This is the first point.

The second. Humanitarian aid is being provided to Syria, for which there is particularly great demand today, because the sanctions imposed on Syria and the Syrian people have produced a deplorable result: nearly 90 percent of people in Syria are living below the poverty line. The situation in Syria is extremely serious.

Of course, it would be unfair to give priority attention to certain groups, to politicise humanitarian aid.


Third. There are different approaches to organising humanitarian aid. We have always believed that it should be organised in full compliance with international humanitarian law. This means that all humanitarian aid must be provided through the official Syrian authorities, through Damascus. However, we have agreed to extend the existing procedure for six months, including for deliveries to the Idlib zone, so as to have more time for coordinating our positions.

There is some disagreement about what is happening in Northern Syria. Incidentally, we also have some common ground here: all of us believe that US troops should leave this area. This is the first point. And they should stop looting the Syrian state, the Syrian people, taking their oil illegally. But there is disagreement about how to organise and stabilise the situation in that region. As you know, Russian-Turkish observation convoys are working there together.

However, in our view, in order to ensure a long-term, stable situation there it is necessary to transfer the entire territory under the control of the official authorities in Damascus, under the control of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and then it will be possible to hold a dialogue with those who are responsible – in this case the official Syrian authorities. I believe it would greatly stabilise the situation there.

But in general, it is work in progress. As I have said many times and would like to stress once again, the work of this tripartite group – Russia, Turkiye and Iran – this joint effort to search for compromises and find these compromises has led to the fact that over 90% of Syria is now under official government control and, as we say in such cases, we have broken the back of international terrorism there. This is a great result of this joint work.

Question:
Mr President, you had three one-on-one meetings today, first with Mr Raisi, then with Mr Khamenei, and then with Mr Erdogan, and there were no news conferences after these meetings. All we know is the topic you were discussing, the official part.

In particular, you said that you discussed the grain issue with your Turkish counterpart, the issue of supplying Russian and Ukrainian grain to international markets. Could you tell us some more about that, please?

Vladimir Putin: There are no secrets here; in fact, almost everything is known. There are some subtleties; maybe I do not always have time to follow what is happening in the information field. I will tell you how I see it.

First, what was the highlight of the three meetings? At each meeting, there were issues that could be considered central to a particular bilateral meeting.

For example, as I said at the news conference, in my press statement, the main theme at the meeting with the Spiritual Leader of Iran was strategic issues, including developments in the region. This is natural, as it is the sphere of his activity. It was very important for me to hear his opinion, his assessment. I have to say that we have very similar views with Iran on many aspects. So, it was very important and very useful.

As for my meeting with President Raisi, we discussed primarily economic matters. I would like to note that Russian-Iranian trade has grown by 40 percent over the past six months. This is a very good indicator.

...
[Putin talks about the Rasht-Astara railway in Iran that Russia is very interested in linking to because it will provide access to the Persian Gulf from St. Petersberg.]
...

There are other spheres. There are security issues relevant to Iran’s nuclear programme. It was very important for us to understand the sentiments of the Iranian party regarding this work. It also involves Russia, which is contributing to the joint efforts aimed at relaunching interaction between Iran and the IAEA. I will not speak about this now, but Russia is playing a considerable role in this.

The grain issue. It is what we discussed with the President of Turkiye. I have already said that the Republic of Turkiye and personally President Erdogan have done a great deal to facilitate the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports. But initially we suggested that it should be adopted as a package, that is, we would facilitate the Ukrainian grain exports provided all the restrictions on the potential exports of Russian grain are lifted. This is what we initially agreed upon with international organisations. They pledged to formulate this as a package solution. Nobody has so far raised any objections, including our American partners. We will see what comes of it in the near future.

As you know, the Americans have actually lifted restrictions, for example, on the delivery of Russian fertilisers to the global market. I hope this will also happen with regard to the export of Russian grain if they really want to improve the situation on the global food markets. As I have said, we are ready to do this right now. We can export 30 million tonnes of grain, and our export potential based on this year’s harvest will be 50 million tonnes.

Question: Mr President, a serious energy crisis is developing in Europe, which is discussing the possibility of Gazprom cutting off gas deliveries. The company has allegedly issued an official notification to one of its German clients, citing force majeure circumstances.
Are there grounds for accusing Russia of causing this energy crisis? Will Gazprom continue to honour its obligations.

Vladimir Putin: First of all, Gazprom has always honoured, and will continue to honour its commitments.

There are no grounds at all for the attempts by our partners to shift or try to shift the blame for their own mistakes on Russia and Gazprom.


What is the situation with energy deliveries? In 2020, in the first half of 2020, gas cost 100 euros per 1,000 cubic metres in Europe. The price rose to 250 euros in the first half of 2021. Today it is 1,700 euros per 1,000 cubic metres of gas.

What is happening? I have spoken about this on numerous occasions, and I do not know if we should go into detail regarding the energy policies of European countries, which underrate the importance of traditional sources of energy and have put money on non-traditional energy sources. They are big experts on non-traditional relations, and they have also decided to make a bid for non-traditional energy sources like the sun and wind.

Last winter was long, there was no wind, and that did it. Investment in the fixed assets of traditional energy producers has decreased because of previous political decisions: banks do not finance them, insurance companies do not insure them, local governments do not allocate land plots for new projects, and pipeline and other forms of transportation are not developing. This is a result of many years, probably a decade of this policy. This is the root cause of price hikes rather than any actions by Russia or Gazprom.

What is going on today? Until recently, we supplied gas to Europe without Turkiye:
we supplied around 30 billion cubic metres a year to Turkiye, and 170 billion to Europe, 55 billion via Nord Stream 1, and, if memory serves me, 33 billion were supplied via Yamal-Europe, via the two strings that run through Ukraine. About 12 billion were delivered to Europe through Turkiye via TurkStream.

Ukraine suddenly announced that it was going to close one of the two routes on its territory. Allegedly because the gas pumping station is not under its control but on the territory of the Lugansk People's Republic. But it found itself under the control of the Lugansk People's Republic several months before, and they closed it just recently without any grounds. Everything was functioning normally there, no one interfered. In my opinion, they closed it simply for political reasons.

What happened next? Poland imposed sanctions on Yamal-Europe, which supplied 33 billion cubic metres of gas.
They used to take 34, I think, 33–34 million cubic metres a day from us. They shut it down completely. But then we saw that they turned on the Yamal-Europe pipeline in reverse mode, and they started taking about 32 million a day from Germany. Where is the gas from Germany coming from? It is our Russian gas. Why from Germany? Because it turned out to be cheaper for the Poles. They used to get it from us at a very high price, closer to the market price, whereas Germany gets it from us 3–4 times cheaper than the market price under long-term contracts.

It is profitable for German companies to sell it to the Poles at a small premium. It is profitable for the Poles to buy it because it is cheaper than to buy it directly from us. But the volume of gas in the European market has decreased, and the total market price has gone up. Who has won? All Europeans only lost.
This is the second point: Yamal-Europe.

So, first one of the routes in Ukraine was shut down, then Yamal-Europe was shut down, now Nord Stream 1, which is one of the main routes – we pump 55 billion cubic metres a year through it. There are five Siemens gas compressor stations working there, and one is on standby. One compressor had to be sent out for repairs. A repaired compressor was supposed to come from Canada, from the Siemens plant in Canada, to replace it. But it ended up under sanctions in Canada. So, one pumping station, just one piece of equipment was out of order because of scheduled maintenance work and it has not been returned from Canada.

Now we are being told that the unit will be delivered from Canada soon, but Gazprom does not have any official documents yet. We must certainly obtain them, because this is our property, it is the property of Gazprom. Gazprom should receive not only the hardware, not only the gas pumping unit, but also the accompanying documents, both legal and technical documentation. We must be able to see what Gazprom is taking – the turbine’s current condition as well as its legal status, whether it is under sanctions or not, what we can do with it, or maybe they are taking it back tomorrow. But that is not all.

The problem is that at the end of July, on July 26, I think – we can ask Gazprom – another turbine should be sent for routine maintenance, for repairs. And where will we get a replacement from? We do not know.

One more turbine is actually out of order because of some crumbling of its internal liner. Siemens has confirmed this. That leaves two operational units, which are pumping 60 million per day. So, if one more is delivered, fine, we will have two in operation. But if it is not, only one will be left, and it will pump only 30 million cubic meters per day. You can count how much time it will take to pump the rest. How is this Gazprom’s responsibility? What does Gazprom even have to do with this? They have cut off one route, then another, and sanctioned this gas pumping equipment. Gazprom is ready to pump as much gas as necessary. But they have shut everything down.

And they have fallen into the same trap with the import of oil and petroleum products. We hear all sorts of crazy ideas about capping the volume of Russian oil imports or the price of Russian oil. This is going to lead to the same situation as with gas. The result (I am surprised to hear people with university degrees saying this) will be the same – rising prices. Oil prices will spiral.

As for gas, there is another route we are ready to open, which is Nord Stream 2. It is ready to be launched, but they are not launching it. There are problems here as well
, I discussed them with the Chancellor about six or maybe eight weeks ago. I raised this issue; I said that Gazprom had reserved the capacity, and that this capacity needed to be used, and it cannot be suspended in mid-air indefinitely.

The answer was that there were other issues on the agenda, more important things, so it is difficult for them to deal with this right now. But I had to warn them that then we would have to redirect half of the volume intended for Nord Stream for domestic consumption and processing. I raised this issue at the request of Gazprom, and Gazprom has actually already done it. Therefore, even if we launch Nord Stream 2 tomorrow, it will not pump 55 billion cubic meters, but exactly half that amount. And given that we are already halfway through this year, it would be just a quarter. Such is the supply situation.

But – I said this at the beginning of my answer to your question and I want to end with this – Gazprom has always fulfilled and will always fulfil all of its obligations, as long as, of course, anyone needs it. First, they [countries sanctioning Russia] themselves close everything, and then they look for someone to blame – it would be comical if it were not so sad.

Question:
You spoke with Mr Erdogan today. He has repeatedly stated his readiness to arrange talks between you and Vladimir Zelensky. Has this issue surfaced today? Are you ready to meet with the President of Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin:
President Erdogan is making a lot of efforts to create the necessary conditions for normalising the situation. It was during our talks in Istanbul that we actually reached an agreement, and it only remained to initial it. But, as you know, after that, when our troops, in order to create the right conditions, withdrew from central Ukraine, from Kiev, the Kiev authorities backed off on those agreements. These were agreements that had actually been achieved. So, you see that the final result depends, of course, not on intermediaries, but on the parties’ commitment to fulfil the agreements reached. And we can see today that the Kiev authorities have no interest in that.
...
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
In this portion of the opening speech from Putin, he describes the 'golden billion' and refers to the 'unipolar world' in the past-tense. The rest of the speech focused on the need to generate new, viable ideas and implement them asap. This is only the second time this forum has assembled. The first was on Nov. 13, 2020, where an initiative generated at that forum went on to create the pilot project for autonomous marine vessels linked to navigation satellites which will then also be used in the development of unmanned vehicles in Russia as well as advancing AI tech.

Full video of this forum can be seen here (1:53:14). In Russian with Russian subtitles. Can't find an English version.


ASI forum Strong Ideas for a New Time


Vladimir Putin attended the plenary session of the forum Strong Ideas for a New Time organised by the autonomous non-profit organisation Agency for Strategic Initiatives, established to promote new projects.

July 20, 2022
16:40

Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: ... It is obvious that there is growing demand for the mechanism proposed by ASI for identifying, selecting and supporting civil projects and initiatives. As we were walking here with Svetlana Chupsheva, she said that, regrettably, an all-embracing and effective mechanism for selecting projects had not yet been created at the state level. But it is good that ASI is doing something like this. We will make increasingly broad use of this practice.

This mechanism is fully consonant with the tasks of our internal development and the time when truly revolutionary transformations are gaining momentum and getting stronger. These enormous changes are irreversible, of course. National and global processes are underway to develop the fundamentals and principles of a harmonious, fairer and more community-focused and safe world order as an alternative to the existing world order, or the unipolar world order in which we lived, and which, because of its nature, is definitely becoming a brake on the development of our civilisation.

The model of total domination by the so-called golden billion is unfair. Why should this golden billion, which is only part of the global population, dominate everyone else and enforce its rules of conduct that are based on the illusion of exceptionalism? It divides the world into first and second-class people and is therefore essentially racist and neo-colonial. The underlying globalist and pseudo-liberal ideology is becoming increasingly more like totalitarianism and is restraining creative endeavour and free historical creation.

One gets the impression that the West is simply unable to offer the world a model for the future of its own. Indeed, it was no accident that the golden billion attained its gold and achieved quite a lot, but it got there not because it implemented certain concepts. It mainly got to where it is by robbing other peoples in Asia and Africa. That is how it was. India was robbed for an extensive period of time. This is why the elite of the golden billion are terrified of other global development centres potentially coming up with their own development alternatives.

No matter how much the West and the supranational elite strive to preserve the existing order, a new era and a new stage in world history are coming. Only genuinely sovereign states are in a position to ensure a high growth dynamic and become a role model for others in terms of standards of living and quality of life, the protection of traditional values and high humanistic ideals, and development models where an individual is not a means, but the ultimate goal.

Sovereignty is about freedom of national development, and thus, the development of every individual.
It is about the technological, cultural, intellectual and educational solvency of a state – that is what it is. No doubt, responsible, active and nationally minded and nationally oriented civil society is the most important component of sovereignty.

I am convinced that in order to be strong, independent and competitive, we need to improve the mechanisms for people to participate in the country’s life and to make them more open and fairer. That includes mechanisms for direct democracy and people's involvement in addressing the critical problems facing society and the public.

The way forward is to rely on our people’s creative potential, to team up with you and people like you who are not with us today.
...
 

Alix

Padawan Learner
What a difference when one reads what V. Putin says and what J. Biden says.
Over a decade ago I took notice of BRICS development and mentioned to a colleague of mine that BRICS would be the new economic power one day in the future. She scoffed and told me that America would always be the world's main economic power. Hmmmmmm
 

Glenn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
What a difference when one reads what V. Putin says and what J. Biden says.
I love reading what Putin says. It seems so.... so.... well, STO to be quite honest.

With all they have been through, and are going through, they don't seem to show any vindictiveness to the West or any of their enemies. They just go about doing things with a clear mind. Quite Impressive actually.
 

Alix

Padawan Learner
Mr. Putin is worried about his own country - as any good leader would be. If you look at the 'nation-builders' in the West, it's obvious that they want to control everything, even to the detriment of mankind if it has to be. The state of the West's economies, and the erosion of their personal freedoms, speaks volumes.
 

Ronan

The Force is Strong With This One
Mr. Putin is worried about his own country - as any good leader would be. If you look at the 'nation-builders' in the West, it's obvious that they want to control everything, even to the detriment of mankind if it has to be. The state of the West's economies, and the erosion of their personal freedoms, speaks volumes.
I live in England but am from Ireland. Growing up I saw/heard all the political promises and the actual outcome/what got delivered and then the revelations 15-20 years later. To me Ireland, England the same thing. About 10+ years ago, while others around me were saying
support Party A .... or his has such a great way of delivering his message... , that movie star is so clean/cool/wonderful... List goes on. I realised something succinctly (purely from my take on things). The governments UK, Ireland have become antihepatitic towards their own populations. I wondered if that was due to to the massive influx to counties these of different ethnic peoples. When I left Ireland in 88 it was probably 98% Irish, (not saying that is brilliant). I suppose I am asking the question, "are the waves of immigration designed to reduce national identity". Obviously this gets promoted/sold to the population by politicians who would make back room deals.
Interestingly I was in Moscow for 2 1/2 days in the mid nineties. Clearly the the West had moved in. What struck me was the level of products being advertised, expensive cars, cigarettes and cosmetics. I wondered about this new freedom and in a way how deeply shallow it is. Understand I am a product of the west with is very cloistered upbringing. I had some insight, but it caused me great depression in my younger years 16-40s. I really admire how Mr. Putin has seen through the situation and has been so focused on building something better.
 
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