Russia’s president Vladimir Putin calls for ‘powerful fist’ to fight terror

December 4, 2015 2:56 pm

 Russian President gives his annual state of the nation
address on Thursday. Putin says Russian military in has been
fighting for . Photo/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for “one powerful fist”
to fight , hinted at more sanctions against Turkey and accused
Western powers of creating “a zone of chaos.”
Speaking in his
live state-of-the-nation address yesterday, Putin called for an end to
what he called double standards that hampered uniting global efforts in
fighting terrorism.
Without naming the United States, he accused
Washington and its allies of turning Iraq, Syria and Libya into a “zone
of chaos and anarchy threatening the entire world” by supporting change
of regimes in those countries.
Putin didn’t address efforts to
start a peace process in Syria in his speech, focusing on the need to
pool global efforts in the fight against terrorism following the attacks
in Paris and the downing of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt. Isis
has claimed responsibility for both.

“We must leave all arguments and disagreements behind and
make one powerful fist, a single anti-terror front, which would work on
the basis of international law under the aegis of the United Nations,”
he said, addressing lawmakers and top officials in an ornate Kremlin
“That means no shelter to bandits, no double standards, no
contacts whatsoever with any terrorist organizations, no attempts to use
them for some selfish goals, no criminal, bloody business with
Putin specifically targeted Turkey, accusing it of
“allowing terrorists to earn money by selling oil stolen from
Syria.””For that money the bandits are recruiting mercenaries, buying
weapons and staging cruel terror attacks aimed against our citizens, as
well as citizens of France, Lebanon, Mali and other countries,” he said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said it was “a little ironic” for the Russian leader to point a finger at others.
ongoing and intense military effort by the Russians to prop up a
dictator inside of Syria that is the root cause of so much chaos makes
it a little ironic for him to be pointing the finger at anyone else,”
Earnest said Thursday, adding that Washington “would welcome a
constructive Russian contribution” to the U.S.-led coalition.”But Russia
has different aims, apparently, if you look only at their military
strategy,” Earnest said. “We would like to see Russia be more
constructive in trying to confront this problem.”
Putin in his
speech accused Turkey of a “treacherous war crime” in downing a Russian
warplane at the border with Syria.”Allah must have punished Turkey’s
ruling clique by depriving it of sense and reason,” Putin said.
said the plane violated its airspace for 17 seconds despite repeated
warnings; Russia denies that. The shoot-down, the first time a NATO
country has downed a Russian plane in more than half a century,
triggered a bitter falling out between the two nations, which had
developed robust economic ties.
Moscow deployed long-range air
defense missile systems to its base in Syria 50 kilometers (30 miles)
south of the border with Turkey and slammed an array of economic
sanctions on Turkey, including a ban on imports of fruit and vegetables
and the sales of tour packages.
“We will remind them not just
once about what they have done, and they will feel sorry about it more
than just once,” Putin said without spelling out what other actions
Russia may take.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said
Thursday that talks with Turkey on building a pipeline that would allow
Russia to export natural gas to the European Union through Turkey have
been halted.
The Turkish and Russian foreign ministers,
meanwhile, met on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade on
Thursday, the first at a senior level between the two countries since
the plane’s downing.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
said he offered his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, Turkey’s
condolences over the death of a Russian pilot. Cavusoglu said “it would
be unrealistic to say that the problem has been overcome,” but added
“our hope is that they avoid making unfounded claims.”
said he “heard nothing new” from Cavusoglu.Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan has vehemently denied that his country was involved in
oil trade with the IS, and has pledged to step down if Moscow proves its
accusations. The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday released an
array of satellite and aerial images which it said show hundreds of oil
trucks streaming across the border. The ministry insisted the images
definitively prove Turkey’s massive oil trade with the IS.
Defense Ministry officials also accused Erdogan and his family of
personally benefiting from the oil trade with the IS, although they
didn’t provide any evidence to back the claim.Erdogan on Thursday
claimed the largest dealer for IS oil is a Syrian who also has a Russian
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking in
Baku, Azerbaijan, urged Putin to tone down his language.”Let’s decrease
tensions with our rhetoric,” Davutoglu said. “The accusations should
end. To sit around a table to talk – that’s the method we would prefer.”
reminded Moscow that Ankara refused to join Western sanctions against
Russia over Ukraine.”Those who were not happy about sanctions imposed
against them should not impose sanctions on others,” he said. “Sanctions
are detrimental to both sides.”
Moscow says its warplanes have
been targeting terrorist groups near Syria’s border with Turkey, while
Ankara says the Russian airstrikes have been aimed at moderate militant
groups made of ethnic Turks who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad’s
regime. The militants shot and killed the downed plane’s pilot while he
was descending on parachute and also killed a Russian marine who was
involved in rescuing the plane’s co-pilot.
Following Monday’s
meeting with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a climate summit
in Paris, Putin said they have a shared understanding on how to move
toward a political settlement in Syria and discussed efforts to compile
one list of extremist groups and another of legitimate political
Putin said in his speech that Russia’s air campaign
in Syria, which started on Sept. 30, is intended to fend off a terror
threat to Russia posed by militant groups in Syria. He said the military
action has proven the capability of Russia’s modernized military.
Russian weapons have worked efficiently, and the priceless experience
of its use in combat will be analyzed to help further improve our
weapons,” he said.
Speaking at a separate meeting honoring
Russian military officers for their action in Syria, Putin said
“positive things have happened there thanks to you and your comrades,
who have been working in the air, and, in fact, have been leading the
Syrian military units.
“While Putin has repeatedly said Russian
troops in Syria won’t engage in ground combat, the statement signaled
the high degree of the Russian military’s involvement in coordinating
Syrian army action.Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president’s
statement didn’t mean that Russian military officers have been put in
charge of some Syrian army units but referred to a “coordination of
Syrian army’s offensive operations with air support.”

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