‘Do you have any common sense on international security?’

January 13, 2017

OWN GOAL: BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson told Vladimir Putin at a Kremlin press conference to sort out problems in the Ukraine and challenged him not to provoke a new Cold War. In response, the Russian leader told Mr Simpson that it was the West who was the one beating the war drum.

BETTER RELATIONS: Vladimir Putin says he wants to co-operate with the West on international security, terrorism, drug trafficking, international crime and economic issues.


A JOURNALIST of international repute received a response to a question on world security that he wasn’t expecting.

Veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson asked Russian leader Vladimir Putin about his country’s annexation of Crimea and their backing of insurgents in Eastern Ukraine. In the clip from RT News Mr Simpson makes a number of points before fielding his final soundbite.

Mr Simpson said the Russian rouble was a big problem for the country and that Russia would need “help, support and understanding from outside countries” and this was particularly the West.

“It must have been your orders that sent your troops into that of a sovereign country, Crimea first, and then whatever it is that is going on in eastern Ukraine. Can I ask you and take this opportunity to say to people of the West, that you have no desire to carry on with a new Cold War and that you will do whatever you can to sort out the problems in Ukraine?”

On delivering this question, Mr Putin’s immediate response came out: “We are not attacking anyone in the political sense of that word. We are not invading anyone. We are standing up for our national interests.”

Mr Putin asked Mr Simpson how Russia could be the “aggressor” when Russia’s defence budget was only £50B, almost a tenth that of the United States.

“You mentioned our aviation. Our geostrategic aviation, that is. It is known to you that any geostrategic aviation in the 1990s halted as did the USSR in the ‘regions of patrol’ ie not in the closer abroad. We halted such activity completely.

US geostrategic aviation with nuclear weapons on board? They continued to encircle us. What for? Who are you concerned about? Or why are you threatening us? We continued with the non-patrol year after year. It is only three years ago that we restarted aviation patrol further abroad. Which party is the provocateur here? Is it us?

Mr Putin claimed that the Russian government only has bases in Kyrgrztan and Tajikistan to keep neighbouring countries stable and protected from rebel groups from Afghanistan.

Mr Putin said: “We only have two military bases abroad that are in areas of known terrorism dangers.

“US bases are on the other hand all over the world and you are telling me that I am the aggressor? Have you any common sense? What are the US forces doing in Europe, including nuclear weaponry?

“Is it us putting our forces on the borders of the US or other states? Is it NATO, or who that is moving their bases closer to us? Military infrastructure! It’s not us. Does anyone listen to us? Or try to have some sort of dialogue with us? The repeated answer we get is ‘mind your own business’ and each country should choose their own security measures. Very well, so will we.

“We want a fairer relationship with the West with our national interests to be taken into account both in matters of security and economics.

“We want to develop normal relations in the sphere of security in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We want to work together on threats such as drug trafficking, organised crime, the spread of infectious diseases, such as Ebola.”

  • THE full unedited encounter between Vladimir Putin and John Simpson can be viewed here.

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