Moscow, Dec 7 (EFE).- The war in Ukraine could be a “long process”, Russian president Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, who said the country would defend itself with “all the means” at its disposal, including nuclear weapons.
At a televised annual session of the Kremlin’s human rights council, Putin accused the West of seeing Russia as “a second class country”.
“There can be only one answer from our side – a consistent struggle for our national interests. We will do just that. And let no one count on anything else,” Putin said.
“We will focus on peaceful means, but if nothing else remains, we will defend ourselves with all the means at our disposal.”
“Of course, this may be a protracted process,” he added, although he clarified that there would be no further mobilizations.
Putin stressed that it would be a mistake for Western powers not to recognize Russia’s “new territories have appeared,” referring to the four Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia that Russia annexed in September despite only partially controlling some of the territory.
Also on Wednesday, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was ready to negotiate a settlement in Ukraine if its “absolutely legal demands” are respected.
“If now there is a serious proposal on how to stop this conflict while our absolutely legal demands are met, of course, we will be ready for dialogue,” Lavrov said during an international forum held in the Russian capital.
The head of Russian diplomacy did not say whether “absolutely legal demands” referred to the annexation of those four southern and eastern Ukrainian regions.
Lavrov also said Russia would redirect its economic and foreign policy towards Asia following the breakdown in relations with the West over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
“We are moving people (officials) from the Western line to the Eastern line, to the Asian line,” Lavrov said during a forum in the Russian capital.
He said that the issue would be addressed in detail by the foreign and economy ministries by the end of the year.
Lavrov has made several trips to Asian, Arab and African countries this year in the wake of the deterioration of Russia’s relations with the West, which has imposed a wide range of sanctions on Russian officials and businesses in response to Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor.
He acknowledged that relations with Latin America, Africa, and countries in the post-Soviet space would also continue to be policy priorities for Moscow.
On Monday, the Chinese and Russian prime ministers, Li Keqiang and Mikhail Mishustin, called for increasing bilateral trade exchanges to $200 billion.
According to the head of the Chinese government, the bulk of the trade exchange covers agricultural products and hydrocarbons.
“The Chinese side is ready, together with its Russian partners, to continue deepening large-scale cooperation for the good of our peoples, peace on the planet, regional stability, development of all states,” Li said during the meeting.
Ukraine condemned this week India’s decision to continue increasing oil imports at below-market prices to make Russia its main crude oil supplier. EFE