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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs