Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts
Putin's remarks show him to be a leader of restraint who responds to provocations with reason and not with anger and who is working to avoid conflict and war. Putin is well aware that he is getting no help from Washington or EU leaders. Putin's address shows that he is, without question, the most important leader on the world scene at this time.
I have put a few passages in bold typeface and added two remarks of my own in [brackets].
Conference of Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives
July 1, 2014, 15:45 Moscow
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Colleagues, friends,
Meetings with the diplomatic corps have become a tradition. We need this direct conversation to make an overall assessment of the situation in the world, to set current and long-term foreign policy objectives and on that basis to more effectively coordinate the work of our missions abroad.
I would like to begin by saying that the Foreign Ministry and our embassies are under a lot of pressure; we see this, we are aware of this, but this pressure will not be reduced. It will only increase, just as the requirement to show efficiency, precision and flexibility in our actions to ensure Russia's national interests.
You know how dynamic and unpredictable international developments may sometimes be. They seem to be pressed together and unfortunately are not all of a positive nature. The potential for conflict is growing in the world, old contradictions are growing ever more acute and new ones are being provoked. We come across such developments, often unexpectedly, and we observe with regret that international law is not working, the most basic norms of decency are not complied with and the principle of all-permissiveness is gaining the upper hand. [Putin is referring to Washington placing its unilateral action above US law, the US Constitution, and International Law.]
We are observing this in Ukraine as well. We need to understand clearly that the events provoked in Ukraine are the concentrated outcome of the notorious deterrence policy. As you may know, its roots go deep into history and it is clear that unfortunately, this policy did not end with the end of the Cold War.
In Ukraine, as you may have seen, at threat were our compatriots, Russian people and people of other nationalities, their language, history, culture and legal rights, guaranteed, by the way, by European conventions. When I speak of Russians and Russian-speaking citizens I am referring to those people who consider themselves part of the broad Russian community, they may not necessarily be ethnic Russians, but they consider themselves Russian people.
What did our partners expect from us as the developments in Ukraine unfolded? We clearly had no right to abandon the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol to the mercy of nationalist and radical militants; we could not allow our access to the Black Sea to be significantly limited; we could not allow NATO forces to eventually come to the land of Crimea and Sevastopol, the land of Russian military glory, and cardinally change the balance of forces in the Black Sea area. This would mean giving up practically everything that Russia had fought for since the times of Peter the Great, or maybe even earlier -- historians should know.
I would like to make it clear to all: this country will continue to actively defend the rights of Russians, our compatriots abroad, using the entire range of available means -- from political and economic to operations under international humanitarian law and the right of self-defense.
I would like to stress that what happened in Ukraine was the climax of the negative tendencies in international affairs that had been building up for years. We have long been warning about this, and unfortunately, our predictions came true.
You know about the latest efforts to restore, to maintain peace in Ukraine. Foreign Ministry staff and the Minister himself took an active part in this. You know about the numerous telephone conversations we had on this subject.
Unfortunately, President Poroshenko has resolved to resume military action, and we failed -- when I say 'we,' I mean my colleagues in Europe and myself -- we failed to convince him that the road to a secure, stable and inviolable peace cannot lie through war.
So far Mr Poroshenko was not directly linked to the orders to begin military action, and only now did he take full responsibility, and not only military, but political as well, which is much more important.