Broken economic ties with the Baltic states adversely affect both Russia and the countries of the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin told US journalist Charlie Rose in an interview with CBS and PBS.
"The broken ties, first of all, in the economy, adversely affect all of us, including Russia," Putin said. "So, I am deeply convinced that we should abandon the phobias of the past, look forward into the future and, while acting on the basis of international law, establish good-neighbourly and equal relations," he added.
The Russian leaders stressed that Moscow would like to "build friendly and partnership relations" with the Baltic states since "many Russians have been living there since the collapse of the Soviet Union."
"They are being discriminated there, their rights are being violated. Do you know that many Baltic states have invented something new in the international law? What citizenship-related notions did the international law have before? The answer is: a citizen, a foreigner, a stateless person and dual nationals, or people with dual citizenship," Putin said. "The Baltic republics have invented something totally new. Do you know what? They use the word ‘non-citizens’ for people who have been living for decades in the territory of Baltic states and have been deprived of a number of political rights. They cannot participate in the election campaigns; they have limited political and social rights. Everybody keeps quiet about it, as if this is the way it should be," he continued.
"Of course, this cannot but cause a certain reaction. I assume that our colleagues from both the United States and the European Union will proceed from current humanitarian law and ensure political freedoms and rights of all people, including those who are living in the territory of Baltic states after the disintegration of the Soviet Union," Putin said.
The Russian president reminded that Russia and the Baltic states have common supply and power system since the Soviet times. He added that "there are plans to separate the Baltic states from the common power system of the former Soviet Union and to integrate them into the European system."
"In practice, it means that a number of zones will emerge between several regions of the Russian Federation, where we will have no power transmission lines, since previously we used to have a loop transition through the Baltic countries. And it means that we will have to reform the system, spending billions of dollars, as well as our European partners who will also have to spend billions of dollars to integrate the Baltic countries into their power grid. What for? If we really seek some kind of joint work and integration, not just by words but also by deeds, what is the use of all this? And this is the case in many areas - they do the opposite of what they say," Putin explained.
The president expressed hope that "these all are growth-related problems" and that "common sense - in this or other area - will prevail in the end."
"We all are interested in an open development, without any prejudice; this refers particularly and, perhaps, primarily to the Baltic countries, for them it is more important than for Russia," Putin concluded.
First published by TASS.
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