Russia wants to join efforts in the fight against international “terrorism” and normalize ties with the United States, says President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking in a live state-of-the-nation address, Putin said that if its interests are respected, Russia was ready to take part in tackling global challenges
We Need Friends
“We don’t want confrontation with anyone,” he said in a speech before officials and lawmakers in the Kremlin.
“Unlike our foreign colleagues who are seeing Russia as an enemy, we have never been looking for enemies–we need friends,” Putin said.
“But we won’t allow any infringement on our interests and neglect of them.”
Relations between the West and Russia have plummeted to a post-Cold War low over the war in Syria and the Ukrainian crisis.
During the U.S. election campaign, President Barack Obama’s administration accused Russia of hacking American political email accounts and websites, in an effort to interfere with the vote.
Accusations Were Rejected By The Kremlin
“In the last few years we have faced attempts of foreign pressure with all tools involved. From the myths about Russian aggression, of meddling in elections, to the hounding of our athletes,” Putin said, referring to doping scandals.
After president-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, Putin said Russia is looking forward to mending ties with the US.
“We are ready for cooperation with the new American administration,” he said.
“It’s important to normalize and develop our bilateral ties on an equal and mutually beneficial basis. We share responsibility for ensuring global security and stability, and strengthening the non-proliferation regime.”
Trump has outlined few specifics as to how he would go about recalibrating ties with Russia, but he has spoken favorably, though guardedly, of Putin.
Trump’s office said Trump and Putin spoke over the phone earlier in November, discussing efforts to improve the relationship between Moscow and Washington.
“President-elect Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia,” Trump’s office said in a statement.
“During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues, including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues, and the historical U.S.-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years.”
In confronting international terrorism, Putin said that Moscow hopes to pool efforts with Washington.
In support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia has conducted an air campaign, helping Syrian forces to make significant gains in Syria’s largest city before the war-Aleppo.
About global security, Putin said Russia is open to a “friendly and equal dialogue.” As an example, he pointed to the European refugee crisis of even “stable regions and seemingly prosperous countries.”