News / Europe

Putin Strikes Conciliatory Tone in Crimea Speech

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses Russian Duma lawmakers during a meeting in Mria sanatorium about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Yalta, Crimea, Aug. 14, 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses Russian Duma lawmakers during a meeting in Mria sanatorium about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Yalta, Crimea, Aug. 14, 2014.
VOA News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday his country would stand up for itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside world, a seemingly conciliatory note after months of tough rhetoric over the crisis in Ukraine.

Putin spoke Thursday in Yalta during the final day of a two-day visit to Crimea, the Ukrainian region Russia annexed in March.

He was addressing an assembly largely comprised of Russian ministers and members of parliament traveling with him.

The tone of Putin's comments was seen as low-key and he avoided the kind of barbs he has previously directed at Western countries during the crisis, which has dragged East-West relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.

“We must calmly, with dignity and effectively, build up our country, not fence it off from the outside world,” he said. “We need to consolidate and mobilize but not for war or any kind of confrontation ... for hard work in the name of Russia.”

In additional comments, Putin said Russia should aim to sell its oil and gas for roubles globally because the dollar monopoly in energy trade was damaging Russia's economy.

And, he said that he had signed off on establishing a Russian military force in Crimea but said the presence would not be too heavy or costly.

Crimea as symbol for Russia

Ukraine has denounced Putin's visit to Crimea, refusing to recognize Moscow's takeover of the strategic Black Sea peninsula of nearly two million mostly Russian-speaking inhabitants.

Dismissing Ukraine's protests, Putin said Crimea should become a symbol of a powerful and unified new Russian state.

Speaking of the crisis in eastern Ukraine, he said that Russia "will do everything that depends on us to make sure that the (Ukraine) conflict ends as soon as possible."

However, he did not spell out how Russia intended to help.

Kyiv has accused Russia of fueling the separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s east as part of efforts to destabilize the country for its pro-Western course.

National interests

On Thursday, Putin explained his thoughts about Russia's foreign policy doctrine, saying it should be peace-loving.

“All our partners in the world should understand that Russia, like any other large, powerful sovereign state, has various ways and means of ensuring its national interests, and these include armed forces,” he said.

“But this is not a panacea and we do not intend, like some people, to dash around the world with a razor blade and wave that blade around. But everyone should understand that we also have such things in our arsenal," Putin added.

Many of Putin's critics in Western capitals say he has made dovish comments before, but that they are not been matched by actions on the ground.

European countries and the United States allege that Russia is supplying arms to separatists in eastern Ukraine. They have also said a Russian aid convoy headed to Ukraine could be a cover for a military attack.

Moscow has denied such allegations, saying it is only interested in protecting the largely Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine.

US commander visits Poland

The commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe arrived in Poland Thursday for talks on boosting the United States' military presence in a country where the crises in neighboring Ukraine crisis has increased concern over Russia’s ambitions in the region.

It was not clear whether the visit of General Donald M. Campbell, was focused on Poland's military cooperation with NATO or bilateral agreements with the United States.

Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, told Reuters in an interview Wednesday that NATO member states were close to agreeing steps to beef up the alliance's military presence in eastern Europe.

Poland is currently hosting 350 U.S. soldiers, seven helicopters and two Hercules transport aircraft, which are on exercises in the country, a spokesman for the Polish military said. About twelve F-16 fighter jets are due to arrive in the coming days.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has separately called for a “pre-positioning of equipment and supplies [in Poland] in order to be able to receive rapid reinforcements if needed.”

He also said NATO should look into strengthening its regional headquarters in Poland.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.
 

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jux from: USA
August 17, 2014 8:07 PM
The denouncement of Putin's presence in the Ukranian region by the civilians is a sign of mistrust in Putin's speech on resolving the Ukranian crisis. actions speaks louder than words and this means that what Putin is saying doesnt matches his action, he is doing an opposite thing and saying the opposite. This issue might evolve into another cold war or proxy battle if not resolved quickly.


by: baser from: Germany
August 14, 2014 11:10 PM
Putin draws attention off with his conciliatory statements. In coming days you will see that 280 lorries which Moscow send as humanitarian mission in Ukraine will supply Russia 's army offensive. Don't trust Russia!!!!
In Response

by: Dan from: England
August 23, 2014 7:14 PM
A German telling the world not to trust Russia. How many world wars did Russia start again?

by: Patrick from: Ca
August 14, 2014 6:48 PM
While I applaud Russia's hutzbah for not allowing gmos in their country, but they are full of double standards just like us! Let's put the razors for shaving faces not blasting the planet into oblivion!

by: David from: Germany
August 14, 2014 11:52 AM
Russia will pay high price for annexation of Crimea and destabilization of eastern Ukraine. I assure you,that nobody will invest in Russia big sum of money. Also,EU will reduce consumption of Russia's gas. I would like to cook my meat on USA's LNG gas rather than on Russia's one.
In Response

by: Dan from: England
August 23, 2014 7:17 PM
You do know there are no facilities to transport America's LNG to Europe don't you? You do realise these facilities cost 10's of millions of dollars right? You do realise the west has no money to buy these facilities?

Enjoy your cold bratwurst this winter.

by: Jaguar
August 14, 2014 11:16 AM
Wave the blade around ...... but everyone should understand that we also have such things in our arsenal."That is the clearest indication that Mr Putin will not hesitate to use the weaponry he has at his disposal and the West needs to take cognizance of this statement for in it, he spells out quite clearly his intent. However he is still not dealing with those responsible for shooting down the Malaysia aircraft with the BUK missile system nor has he stated how they came to be in possession of such sophisticated equipment. Very non committal for a Head of State.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 14, 2014 10:12 AM
Ukraine of Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk is free to denounce Putin's visit to Crimea and refuse to formally recognize Moscow's takeover of the strategic Black Sea peninsula of nearly 2 million mostly Russian-speaking inhabitants. But Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk cannot rewrite and denounce the chapter of the world history with Crimea as THE PART of the RUSSIAN Empire for 134 years having started from the year of 1783. In Soviet times, Crimea was also the part of the RUSSIAN Soviet Republic.
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
August 15, 2014 3:03 AM
You are right, Gannady, Russians did and will take back by force anything stolen from Russia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs