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Putin reiterates tough stance against western pressure

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-19 08:54

Putin reiterates tough stance against western pressure

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin reiterated on Thursday that Russia will not bow to external political pressure and will stay firm to protect the national interests.

Meanwhile, he urged the country to restructure its economy, as Russia is currently experiencing an economic slowdown and a rapid depreciation of the country's currency ruble partially due to high economic reliance on energy exports.

"The Berlin wall never really came down," Putin said at his 10th annual year-end press conference, adding the West has been erecting new barriers in the way of equitable ties with Russia.

"They think they have won, they consider themselves to be an empire and that others are vassals who must be oppressed," said the president.

Meanwhile, Russia's tough stance even in crisis should let the foreign partners realize "the best way is to stop building the walls but to build a common security space instead."

He noted that international relations are threatened by many already existed or newly emerged dividing lines, while slamming the United States and the NATO for their military presence approaching to Russian borders.

Russia wants equal relations with the rest of the world and always believes in the World Trade Organization rules, Putin said.

"But we have been sanctioned unilaterally and illegitimately," he added.

Comparing Russia to a bear, Putin said the country should not lower its guard, or it will lose its teeth and claws and become a hunter's trophy.

"Once the teeth and claws are ripped out, the bear will lose its significance and become nothing but a stuffed animal," he said.

"This is about the protection of our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist," Putin said, adding that Russia is not attacking the West politically but protecting its own national interests at an increasingly robust pace.

He said Russia has been seeking to cooperate with the Asia- Pacific Region, as the region develops faster than any other part of the world.

The president further illustrated that Russia's turn towards the East comes due to the global economic situation rather than political reasons.

Answering questions from Xinhua, Putin said the cooperation with China is one of the cornerstones of Russia's economic recovery and prosperity in future.

He added that the pipeline project with China "will allow us, concentrating on large resources at the beginning phase, to not only push this pipeline through, but to begin the energy construction of the Far East, to unite the gas transportation infrastructure of the east and west, to shift the gas flows from the east to the west depending on the changes in needs for them."

On the Ukraine crisis, Putin said Russia is willing to mediate political talks, adding that the crisis should be settled as soon as possible and only through political ways.

Ukraine's military moves in the country's southeastern regions have no perspectives and "are detrimental to the statehood of Ukraine and its people," he said.

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