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Putin’s Speech to Foreign Ministry Leaders Presents Global Peace Perspective

Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a comprehensive historical and strategic picture of Russia in the world today to the foreign policy establishment on Friday, June 14, worth reviewing in detail. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomed Putin, saying: “As a matter of priority, we are building up ties with the countries of the global majority, the global South, and the global East, redistributing our material and human resources accordingly and transferring them to those areas where they are most in demand in the new geopolitical conditions. I would also like to mention that we are actively assisting in establishing the international ties of Crimea, the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. To this end, the Foreign Ministry has already established its representative offices in Donetsk and Lugansk, and strengthened the capabilities of the representative office in Simferopol.”

Putin began by noting that this was the first meeting in such a format since November 2021, and that: “the world is changing rapidly. Global politics, the economy, and technological competition will never be the same as before. More countries are striving to strengthen their sovereignty, self-sufficiency, and national and cultural identity. The countries of the Global South and East are gaining prominence, and the role of Africa and Latin America is growing…. This new political and economic reality now serves as the foundation for the emerging multipolar and multilateral world order, and this is an inevitable process. It reflects the cultural and civilisational diversity that is inherently part of humanity, despite all attempts at artificial unification.” These changes “make it possible to resolve the most complex problems together for the common benefit, and to build mutually beneficial relations and cooperation between sovereign states for the sake of well-being and security of peoples.”

He pointed to the BRICS as a critical part of “the democratization of the entire system of international relations,” adding that “the BRICS summit in Kazan in October will have a considerable set of agreed decisions that will determine the direction of our cooperation in politics and security, the economy and finance, science, culture, sports and humanitarian ties.”

The fall of the U.S.S.R., he said, created a moment in which “the international community had a unique opportunity to build a reliable and just security order.” However, a different approach prevailed. The Western powers, led by the United States, believed that they had won the Cold War and had the right to determine how the world should be organized. The practical manifestation of this outlook was the project of unlimited expansion of the North Atlantic bloc in space and time, despite the existence of alternative ideas for ensuring security in Europe."

“In the 1990s and later, we consistently pointed out the flawed approach taken by Western elites. Instead of simply criticizing and warning them, we suggested options and constructive solutions, emphasizing the need to develop a mechanism of European and global security that would be acceptable to all parties involved (I want to underscore this point)…. Let us recall the idea of a European security treaty, which we proposed in 2008. In December 2021, a memorandum from the Russian Foreign Ministry was submitted to the United States and NATO, addressing the same issues.” Instead, the world was presented with the unipolar world of regime-change wars, sanctions and more.

Now, for example, the West is currently trying to brazenly meddle in the affairs of the Middle East … but also in the Asia-Pacific region. They claim those areas can not do without them. Clearly, this was an attempt to exert more pressure on those countries in the region whose development they have decided to restrain. As you know, Russia ranks high on this list."

He reviewed the U.S. withdrawal from the anti-missile defense treaties, warning: “Lastly, the self-centeredness and arrogance of Western countries have led us to a highly perilous situation today. We are inching dangerously close to a point of no return. Calls for a strategic defeat of Russia, which possesses the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons, demonstrate the extreme recklessness of Western politicians. They either fail to comprehend the magnitude of the threat they are creating or are simply consumed by their notion of invincibility and exceptionalism. Both scenarios can result in tragedy.”

Meanwhile, he continued, “It is evident that the entire system of Euro-Atlantic security is crumbling before our eyes.” Our task was “set in the Address to the Federal Assembly: to outline a vision for equal and indivisible security, mutually beneficial and equitable cooperation, and development on the Eurasian continent in the foreseeable future.”

On Russia-China relations, Putin said: "During my recent visit to China, President Xi Jinping and I discussed this issue. It was noted that the Russian proposal is not contradictory, but rather complements and aligns with the basic principles of the Chinese global security initiative.

“Second, it is crucial to recognize that the future security architecture should be open to all Eurasian countries that wish to participate in its creation. ‘For all’ includes European and NATO countries as well. We share the same continent, and we must live and work together regardless of the circumstances. Geography cannot be changed.”

He ridiculed the claim that Russia is preparing to attack Europe. "The threat to Europe does not come from Russia. The main threat to Europeans is their critical and increasing dependence on the United States in military, political, technological, ideological, and informational aspects. Europe is being marginalized in global economic development, plunged into the chaos of challenges such as migration, and losing international agency and cultural identity.

“Sometimes, I get the impression that European politicians and representatives of the European bureaucracy are more afraid of falling out of favor with Washington than losing the trust of their own people. The recent election to the European Parliament has also demonstrated this. European politicians tolerate humiliation, rudeness, and scandals, such as surveillance of European leaders, while the United States simply exploits them for its own benefit. For instance, they are forced to purchase expensive gas, which costs three to four times more in Europe than in the United States. Additionally, European countries are pressured to increase arms supplies to Ukraine….

“If Europe wants to continue being an independent center of global development and a cultural and civilisational pole on our planet, it should definitely maintain good and friendly relations with Russia. Most importantly, we are ready for this.”

As for the U.S. itself, he says: “Speaking of the United States, the never-ending attempts by the current globalist liberal elites to spread their ideology worldwide, to maintain their imperial status and dominance in one way or another, are only further exhausting the country, leading to its degradation, and clearly contrary to the genuine interests of the American people. If it were not for this dead-end policy, driven by aggressive messianism based on the belief in their own superiority and exceptionalism, international relations would have long been stabilized.”

In addition to strengthening the international institutions, it is also necessary “to gradually phase out the military presence of external powers in the Eurasian region. Of course, we are aware that in the current situation this point may seem unrealistic, but that will change. However, if we build a reliable security system in the future, there will simply be no need for such a presence of out-of-region military contingents. To be honest, there no need today either—just occupation and that’s all.”

On the economy: “The West not only undermined the world’s military-political stability by its actions. It has compromised and weakened the key market institutions by its sanctions and trade wars. Using the IMF and the World Bank and twisting the climate agenda, it has been restraining the development of the Global South…. Meanwhile, the pressure is exerted not only on competitors, but on their own satellites. Suffice it to see how they are now ‘siphoning off the juices’ from the European economies which are teetering on the brink of recession.”

On the “frozen” Russian funds and the attempt to send them off to Ukraine, he says: “[D]espite all the crooked lawyerism, theft will obviously remain theft and will not go unpunished.” The implications are global, he notes: “Now it is becoming clear to all countries, companies and sovereign wealth funds that their assets and reserves are far from safe, both legally and economically. And anyone could be the next in line for expropriation by the United States and the West.”

What to do: “I believe that we need to seriously intensify the formation of effective and safe bilateral and multilateral foreign economic mechanisms as alternatives to those controlled by the West. This includes the expansion of settlements in national currencies, the creation of independent payment systems and the building of value chains that bypass the channels blocked or compromised by the West. Naturally, it is necessary to continue efforts to develop international transport corridors in Eurasia, the continent with Russia as its natural geographical core.”

He makes a full review of the situation in Ukraine, showing that the West started the war with the Maidan and the military assault on the Donbass, ignoring the many peace proposals from Russia. He pointed to the Kosovo policy, contrasting that to the claim that the Donbass republics had no right to declare independence.

On the negotiations between Kiev and Moscow in the spring of 2022 (which the New York Times now claims to have published the key documents), he said: "Surprisingly, as a result, agreements that satisfied both Moscow and Kiev were indeed reached. These agreements were put on paper and initialed in Istanbul by the head of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation. This means that this solution was suitable for the Kiev authorities.

“The document was titled ‘Agreement on Permanent Neutrality and Security Guarantees for Ukraine.’ It was a compromise, but its key points were in line with our fundamental demands and resolved the problems that were stated as major ones even at the start of the special military operation. Let me also note that this included demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. And we also managed to find challenging outcomes. They were complicated but they had been found. It was meant that a law would be adopted in Ukraine banning Nazi ideology and any of its manifestations. All of that was written there.

“In addition, in exchange for international security guarantees, Ukraine would have limited the size of its armed forces, undertaken obligations not to join military alliances, not to host foreign military bases, not to station them and contingents, and not to conduct military exercises on its territory. Everything was written on paper.

“Russia, which also understood Ukraine’s security concerns, agreed that Ukraine would receive guarantees similar to those that NATO members enjoy without formally joining the alliance. It was a difficult decision for us, but we recognised the legitimacy of Ukraine’s demands to ensure its security and did not object to the wording proposed by Kiev. This was the wording proposed by Kiev, and we generally did not have any objections, understanding that the main thing was to cease the bloodshed and war in Donbass.”

In his June 17, 2023 St. Petersburg meeting with the seven African leaders to discuss possible ways to resolve the situation around Ukraine. They had met with Zelenskyy in Kiev the day before. In their discussion, President Putin showed them his copy of the spring 2022 "[The Treaty on Permanent Neutrality and Guarantees of Security of Ukraine."]

Putin asserts that he has studied the Ukrainian Constitution carefully, and that Zelenskyy is now an illegitimate leader since there were no grounds for his suspension of elections. He questions if the agreements Zelenskyy has signed with NATO countries are legitimate as a result.

Putin also presented a peace proposal (which has already been rejected by the U.S. and Kiev), saying the conditions are simple: "The Ukrainian troops must be completely withdrawn from the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. Let me note that they must be withdrawn from the entire territory of these regions within their administrative borders at the time of their being part of Ukraine.

“As soon as Kiev declares that it is ready to make this decision and begin a real withdrawal of troops from these regions, and also officially notifies that it abandons its plans to join NATO, our side will follow an order to cease fire and start negotiations will be issued by us that very moment. I repeat—we will do this expeditiously. Of course, we also guarantee an unhindered and safe withdrawal of Ukrainian units and formations.”

Putin also revealed a development during the 2014 Maidan events “that has not been publicly disclosed before.” He says that "on February 21, I had a conversation with my American counterpart at the initiative of the American side. Essentially, the American leader offered unequivocal support for the Kiev agreement between the authorities and the opposition. Furthermore, he described it as a genuine breakthrough and an opportunity for the Ukrainian people to prevent the escalating violence from crossing all imaginable boundaries. Furthermore, during our discussions, we collaboratively formulated the following approach: Russia committed to persuading the then-President of Ukraine [Viktor Yanukovych] to exercise maximum restraint, refraining from deploying the army and law enforcement against protesters. Conversely, the United States pledged to urge the opposition to peacefully vacate administrative buildings and work towards calming the streets…. Overall, we agreed to collaborate towards fostering a stable, peaceful, and well developing Ukraine. We fulfilled our commitments in full. At that time, President Yanukovych, who had no intention to deploy the army, refrained from doing so and even withdrew additional police units from Kiev.

“What about our Western colleagues? During the night of February 22 and throughout the following day, despite agreements and guarantees from the West (both Europe and the United States, as I just mentioned), radicals forcibly seized control of the Rada building, the Presidential Administration, and took over the government while President Yanukovych left for Kharkov, where the congress of deputies of the southeastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea was supposed to take place. And none of the guarantors of these political settlement agreements—neither the United States nor the Europeans—did a thing to fulfill their obligations by urging the opposition to release the seized administrative buildings and renounce violence. It is evident that this sequence of events not only suited them but also suggests they may have orchestrated the unfolding events.”