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16 Oct, 2023 09:24

‘Nonsense’ US approach, BRICS expansion, Kiev’s ‘huge’ losses: Key takeaways from Putin’s interview with Chinese media

The Russian president contrasted Washington and Beijing’s approaches to deal-making
‘Nonsense’ US approach, BRICS expansion, Kiev’s ‘huge’ losses: Key takeaways from Putin’s interview with Chinese media

Russia no longer trusts the US on anything, while China has been reliably delivering on its promises, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

He contrasted the trustworthiness of the two nations in an interview with political correspondent Wang Guan, published in full on Monday. The journalist spoke to the Russian leader on behalf of the China Media Group.

Here are the key takeaways from the discussion.

Rules-based order is nonsense

The US-promoted concept of a ‘rules-based order’ is colonialism in disguise, Putin argued, as Washington decides on what those rules are on a case-by-case basis.

“How can one talk about order based on rules that no one has ever seen? In terms of common sense, it’s nonsense. But it is beneficial to those who promote this approach.”

Colonial powers of the past claimed they were “bringing enlightenment” and “benefits of civilization” to the territories they held, the Russian president said. US exceptionalism implies that Americans perceive the rest of the world as “second-rate people”, just like the colonialists of history.

Moscow rejects this approach and strives for a fair multipolar world, where all nations are treated as equals, according to the president.

Multipolarity is inevitable

A new global arrangement is coming, one way or another, Putin predicted.

“We can speed up this process or someone can try to slow it down and maybe even achieve some kind of reduction in the pace of building a multipolar world. Anyway, its creation is inevitable.”

This year’s expansion of the BRICS group of leading non-Western economies was a major step in that direction, Putin believes. With the inclusion of six new members, it has surpassed the West’s G7 club in economic strength, he noted.

“No one wants to play second fiddle to some sovereign, everyone wants equal rights. And when they join BRICS, they see that we can achieve this goal.”

US cannot be trusted

Washington has a habit of discarding previous agreements depending on political whims, as seen with its exit from the multilateral agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, Putin said, adding that the Ukraine conflict is rooted in the same problem.

“We were told as far back as 1991 – by the then-US administration – that NATO would not expand further east. Since then, there have been five waves of NATO expansion.”

“How can we agree on anything if every new administration starts from scratch?”

Kiev’s battlefield losses

Putin outlined the history of Russia’s hostilities with its neighbor, from the 2008 NATO pledge to make Ukraine a member, to the Western-backed 2014 armed coup in Kiev and the conflict in Donbass, to the refusal of the Ukrainian government to implement a roadmap for reconciliation with rebels, and its decision last year to reject a draft truce in favor of a hoped-for military victory against Moscow.

“They launched [in June] an active military operation, the so-called counter-offensive,” the president said of the latest phase of the confrontation. “No results achieved so far, only massive losses. The losses are simply huge, at a ratio of one to eight.”

Russia wants the conflict to be resolved and believes that China’s proposal may serve as a basis, the president noted – but it is up to Ukraine to make talks possible, as it has passed a law banning negotiations with Putin.

Xi’s word is his bond

A large portion of the interview was dedicated to Russian-Chinese cooperation, and Putin’s friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which he believes has contributed to the rapid development of ties between the nations over the past 15 years.

The Russian leader called his Chinese counterpart “attentive to detail, cool-headed, business-minded and a reliable partner,” stressing that he especially values Xi’s trustworthiness.

Xi’s strategic approach to governance distinguishes him from “people whom we call ‘time servers’ who are there for a brief moment just to show off on the international stage, and then they are gone,” Putin said.