Evo Morales Rejects Militarization of Bolivia-Argentina Border

On August 17, the Argentine Government set up a military base in the border city of La Quiaca, near Bolivia, framed in the plan for a reform of the Armed Forces.

On Thursday, Bolivian President Evo Morales rejected the militarization of the Bolivia-Argentina border that President Mauricio Macri has ordered. The Bolivian president said that the Argentine Government seeks to intimidate and frighten the Bolivian people, but noted that this action does not scare them.

RELATED: Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'The US Is An Interventionist State'

Morales said that Argentina's move aims to rattle Bolivia. "They will try to scare us; We are not going to be scared, we are a united people, with social forces. They will try to intimidate us, they will not be able to," he said during a Public event in Chuquisaca, Bolivia.

The president said that he does "not agree with what Argentina did these last days, militarize the border with Bolivia, in La Quiaca, in front of Villazon." 

On August 17, the Argentine Government set up a military base in the border city of La Quiaca, near Bolivia, framed in the plan for a reform of the Armed Forces which is promoted by the country's executive to carry out internal security tasks. However, the Argentine Ambassador to Bolivia, Normando Alvarez, confirmed that an Argentinian military base will be installed in Abra Pampa, Jujuy Province, 70 kilometers away from the border with Bolivia.

Social and other media reports claimed that the United States had planned to open a military base in Argentina, near the border with Bolivia, in order to fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism. But, the Argentinian Government has denied the allegation.

"No, they are inventions; why do we need the United States military if we have professional military forces that can calmly develop their task," the ambassador remarked.

"NATO and U.S. military bases are synonymous with theft, synonymous with looting, confrontation, war. We have profound differences with the capitalist system, with North American imperialism, but for that we need unity. If we are united nothing is going to stop our process of change," Bolivian President Morales commented.

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Insults, demands & advice: Trump’s whirlwind European tour causes stir online

On his EU visit, US President Donald Trump lectured Germany on doing business with Russia, demanded tribute from NATO and offered advice on British politics. Many Europeans were having none of it, venting their spleen on Twitter.

Trump flew into Belgium for the NATO summit on Wednesday, then jetted to the UK for a state visit on Thursday. He is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

Trump vs Germany

The US leader started off the NATO summit by accusing Germany of being a “captive to Russia,” arguing that Berlin’s position within the military alliance was compromised because of its reliance on energy from Moscow. This led some journalists to accuse Trump of projecting his insecurities onto a rival, while others pointed out this dispelled claims he was soft on Russia.

@mitchellreports @Yamiche in Brussels: President Trump blasted his way into NATO, and for someone who is being blasted at home for being controlled by Russia, he really projected that on Germany.

@mtracey The funny part is Trump has taken far more consequential actions that are averse to Russia's interests (expelling diplomats, sending arms to Ukraine, approving sanctions, repeatedly bombing their client state) than Germany's, but listen to US media you'd assume the exact opposite

While Trump’s comments provoked fierce reaction online, Chancellor Angela Merkel was more restrained in her response. Online commentators were in no mood for civility, with some calling for Merkel to mete out some rough justice.

READ MORE: Merkel slams Trump’s ‘Russian captive’ comment, defends Berlin’s ‘independent policies’

@TheSarcasmShow I'm pretty sure Angela Merkel could take Donald Trump in a fight

@MrFilmkritik I can’t be the only one who just wants to see Merkel lose it and deck Trump.

One German TV network reportedly responded by digitally replacing the US president with an image of a Trump-shaped blimp made by some British protesters.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dh_Ua5QXkAc4DNt.jpg

He said, no one else said

If making culturally insensitive statements is a Trump trademark, so is declaring victory in disputes before being contradicted by the supposedly vanquished. The NATO summit produced a few such moments.

The former reality TV star has long berated NATO over military spending or lack thereof. Trump came to the summit looking to pick a fight with 24 alliance members failing to meet an agreed target of making their military budgets two percent of their GDP.

Trump later told the press he’d successfully pushed for a spending increase. French President Emmanuel Macron disagreed. Twitter weighed in to mediate. 

READ MORE: Trump warns NATO allies US can ‘do our own thing’ if 2% spending goal not met – reports

In another seemingly off-the-cuff remark, Trump said he wanted NATO members to double their spending, to four percent of GDP. Some felt they could see the malign hand of shady defense contractors at play.

Trump does Britain

UK Prime Minister Theresa May must have choked on her tea when she read Trump’s interview with The Sun on Friday morning. In a bizarre exclusive, Trump was scathing about her Brexit plan and even backed rival Boris Johnson to succeed her at 10 Downing Street. Later in the day, he insisted that the story was “fake news.” Online commentators knew who they were going to believe.

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European Leaders Vow Tougher Action On Chemical Weapons, Spying

Brussels: EU leaders on Friday pledged to crack down harder on chemical weapons and step up efforts to combat spying, as Europe frets about threats from Russia.

Three months after a nerve agent attack in the British city of Salisbury, blamed on Russia, united the EU in condemnation of Moscow, the bloc's leaders said they wanted new measures to stop the spread of chemical weapons.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels called for "the adoption as soon as possible of a new EU regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons".

The call came a day after the international community voted to beef up the powers of the world chemical weapons watchdog, allowing it to name those responsible for toxic arms attacks in Syria.

The Salisbury attack, along with repeated gas attacks in Syria's bloody civil war and the assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un's half brother using VX nerve agent in Malaysia, have led to fears that the century-old taboo against chemical weapons was being eroded.

The European Commission, the EU's powerful executive arm, said Wednesday's decision to boost the powers of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was a "crucial step towards preserving and upholding the global norm against the use of chemical weapons".

And with European nations increasingly anxious about Russian interference in elections across the continent, the summit tasked the commission with coming up with "a coordinated EU response to the challenge of disinformation".

Leaders also urged EU countries to cooperate more closely and in consultation with NATO, to combat the threat from "hostile intelligence activities".

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NATO was never a defensive alliance, and its behavior since 1991 shows it

Throughout the Cold War, NATO was advertised as a defensive alliance. That was not really the case then, and certainly hasn’t been since, with NATO engaging in interventions and regime change from Bosnia to Libya.

Though the alliance’s founding document was signed in April 1949, it wasn’t until a year later that the foreign ministers of the 12 member countries sat down in London to give shape to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On May 18, 1950, led by US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, they signed a communique establishing the permanent structures of NATO.

“This business of building for peace is a very grim business, and it has to be worked for day in and day out,” British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin said after the meeting.

How much NATO was really into “building peace” became clear in 1954, after the death of Stalin, when the Soviet Union’s new leader Nikita Khrushchev asked to join the alliance. Not only did NATO say no, the alliance invited West Germany to join. The date chosen for the occasion was symbolic: May 9, the tenth anniversary of Nazi capitulation in the Second World War.

@starsandstripes Security experts say Germany's military is virtually undeployable. For example, none of its submarines are operational and only four of its 128 Eurofighter jets are combat-ready. https://www.stripes.com/news/as-germany-prepares-for-nato-crisis-response-role-its-military-readiness-is-abysmal-1.527253 

The USSR saw this as an open provocation, and responded by establishing the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, also known as the Warsaw Pact.

After the Warsaw Pact dissolved in 1991, NATO not only remained in existence but expanded its membership and mission, usurping the role of the UN by openly intervening in Yugoslavia. The alliance’s first military action was in Bosnia (1994-95), followed by an all-out war against the remnant Yugoslavia (1999) and the subsequent occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

 
© Reuters

NATO has also taken part in the US war in Afghanistan since 2001. The alliance did not officially join the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, though many members chose to join George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing.”

The most overt NATO military action since 1999 was the 2011 intervention in Libya. It unfolded in much the same fashion as the mission creep in Bosnia, only much faster. Within hours of the UN Security Council authorizing the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya on March 19, the US, France, UK and Canada began airstrikes.

NATO officially took over the war on March 31, flying 26,500 sorties during Operation Unified Protector until the death of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in October.

Drive to the East

Though US Secretary of State James Baker assured the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “not one inch eastward” if Germany reunified, the alliance did just that. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were officially admitted into NATO even as alliance warplanes were bombing Yugoslavia in April 1999.

Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia joined in 2002. The last former Warsaw Pact country, Albania, joined in 2009. The alliance has also expanded to include the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro, as well as the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing NATO to Russia’s doorstep.

As if that wasn’t enough, NATO pushed further, into Georgia and Ukraine. Believing NATO had his back, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili attacked Russian peacekeepers in the disputed region of South Ossetia in 2008. His NATO-trained military was disarmed in six days. NATO has continued to flirt with Georgia since, though the current government in Tbilisi doesn’t appear eager for another war with Russia.

@NATO_MARCO Four NATO ships conducting a port call in Poti, Georgia  https://civil.ge/archives/241621

The phantom menace

The most recent escalation of tensions with Russia began in 2014, after the US-backed regime that took over Ukraine in a February 2014 coup. Alliance troops have since set up bases in the far west of the country, and have been providing weapons, supplies and training to Kiev’s military and neo-Nazi militias to “counter Russian aggression.”

Under the guise of “deterring Russia,” NATO has also established permanent military bases in the Baltic States, Romania and Poland, and conducted a series of massive military drills right on the Russian border. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned the troop buildup, saying in February that Washington is using an “imaginary Russian threat” to ensure its dominance in Europe.

The alliance’s first secretary general (1952-57), Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay, reportedly once said NATO’s purpose was to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.”

NATO’s behavior since the 1990s shows not only that it has become an aggressive, expansionist body, but one serving the foreign policy priorities of the US first and foremost. With Europe now contemplating breaking from Washington over Iran, its leaders would do well to keep Ismay’s words in mind.

@Ruptly Tusk on Trump: 'friends like that, who needs enemies?'

 
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NATO crossed ‘red line’ with military build-up around Russian borders – envoy to NATO

NATO has crossed a line with its “unjustified” military build-up on Russia’s doorstep, Russian envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko has warned. He added that global security cannot be ensured without Russia.

 
A US soldier walks to the welcoming ceremony for US-led NATO troops at polygon near Orzysz, Poland on 13 Apr. 2017 © Kacper Pempel / Reuters

Relations with states neighboring Russia never developed “military dimensions” despite strained relations with some of them, including with the Baltic states, Grushko said. But the situation has now changed, thanks to the military bloc, he told a discussion panel at the Valdai Club on Tuesday.

“Now, thanks to NATO, we have a military dimension, it was their choice, they crossed the red line,” Grushko said.

While the West has been trying hard to isolate Russia and fuel anti-Russian hysteria, international security is the only thing that suffers from this approach, according to Grushko. Any NATO and EU attempts to create “isolated safe havens” are doomed to failure, the diplomat said, as the creation of solid security systems cannot succeed without Russia.

The situation on Russia’s doorstep is also reminiscent of “Cold War schemes,” which should already have been buried as they were proven to be inefficient. However, if the alliance turns its back on Russia, it will only harm its own security, the Russian official added.

“If they do not want dialogue, then there won’t be any. It takes two to tango, as you know, it will be a conscious choice of the alliance,” Grushko said.

In the wake of international hysteria over the Skripal case and following the mass expulsions of Russian diplomats from a range of countries, NATO cut the permanent size of the Russian mission from a maximum of 30 to 20. Grushko stressed that the alliance is damaging itself with such moves, as it merely decreased the already reduced level of bilateral cooperation.

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‘Defensive actions’? NATO launches new multinational force to counter Russia

NATO is launching a new multinational force in Romania to counter Russia along its eastern flank and keep close tabs on the Russian presence in the Black Sea. The chief of the military alliance said NATO’s actions are purely “defensive and proportionate.”

“Here in Romania, our multinational framework brigade is now operational,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Bucharest on Monday, thanking Romania for hosting the brigade.

“We are also seeing increased allied presence in the Black Sea,” the alliance chief noted, adding that NATO jets are busy patrolling the skies over Romania and Bulgaria.

 
© Regis Duvignau

“Our deployments are a direct response to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, speaking at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in the Romanian capital.

“NATO’s actions are defensive, proportionate and entirely in line with our international commitments,” he concluded.

Stoltenberg went on to say that members of the alliance are “concerned by Russia’s military buildup close to our borders and its lack of transparency when it comes to military exercises such as Zapad 2017. This highlights the importance of our dual-track approach to Russia,” he said.

What the alliance chief said next, however, sounded more like a mantra.

“Russia is our neighbor. Russia is here to stay. We do not want to isolate Russia. NATO does not want a new Cold War. Our actions are designed to prevent, not provoke conflict.”

Details of the new force size are unclear. Once a small force relying on troops from 10 NATO countries, the land, air and sea deployments will complement some 900 US troops already in place, according to Reuters.

The land component of the multinational force is stationed at a base near the southern Romanian city of Craiova. Aside from Romania, Poland is the biggest troop contributor; Bulgaria, Italy and Portugal will train with the force in Craiova, while Germany is also set to contribute. Apart from routine NATO Black Sea naval patrols, a maritime presence will feature more allied visits to Romanian and Bulgarian ports, training and exercises.

 
U.S. army soldiers with their Stryker armoured fighting vehicle attend the final day of NATO Saber Strike exercises in Orzysz, Poland, June 16, 2017. © Ints Kalnins

Some Eastern Europeans reportedly want NATO's new ballistic missile defense shield, which includes a site in Romania, to be part of NATO's eastern posture vis-a-vis Russia.

"The Aegis Ashore system would add another level of deterrence," Maciej Kowalski, an analyst at the Polish Casimir Pulaski Foundation, told Reuters.

NATO’s military activities near the Russian border have been repeatedly criticized by Moscow, which has accused the alliance of undermining the security balance with its eastward encroachment and military provocations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York last month that NATO is currently seeking to revive the Cold War climate instead of building a dialogue with Moscow. Russia has long been trying to remove the legacy of the Cold War but received no support in its efforts from its partners in the West, the minister noted, expressing regret that “some countries still prefer force to dialogue."

"The West constructed its policy on the basis of a principle, ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’ and proceeded with hideous expansion of NATO to the east,” Lavrov said.

 
© function.mil.ru

The Russian permanent representative to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, meanwhile noted in July that NATO activities in Eastern Europe “not only ensure a reinforced military presence of the allies in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders but in fact represent an intensive mastering of the potential theater of military operations.”

Last month, Russia conducted the Zapad 2017 (West 2017) military drills, which took place on the territory of Russia and Belarus. The exercises involved about 12,700 servicemen, including up to 5,500 from Russia and about 7,200 from Belarus.

The drills caused hysteria in several countries neighboring Belarus, including Ukraine, with the country’s commander-in-chief, Viktor Muzhenko, claiming in an interview with Reuters that Russia had allegedly withdrawn only a few units from Belarus.

"As for the units of Russian troops who took part in the joint strategic ‘West 2017’ exercise, they all returned to the points of permanent deployment," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov stated in September, adding that Muzhenko's allegations about "hidden" Russian troops in Belarus "demonstrate the depth of the degradation of the General Staff of Ukraine and the professional incompetence of its leader."

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Why isn't NATO bombing Madrid for 78 days? - fmr British diplomat

It is a little bit late for the EU to remember international law on its Western border when it was ignoring it on its Eastern border, Marko Gasic, an international affairs commentator, told RT.

Catalonia's leader has vowed to declare the region's independence from Spain in the coming days.

Carles Puigdemont, the breakaway region’s president, said he does not plan to delay the declaration of independence for much longer and is ready to “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next,” he said in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday.

Spanish authorities continue to say they see the vote on Sunday as illegal and unconstitutional, while the EU gave its backing to the Spanish prime minister to resolve the crisis.

 
A Catalan regional police officer looks on as people who showed up to support the Spanish national police officers staying in town, hold up Spanish flags as police vehicles depart in Pineda de Mar, north of Barcelona, Spain, October 3, 2017. © Albert Gea

The move has been criticized by the president of Serbia, who has accused the EU of double standards regarding Kosovo.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic did not mince his words when he voiced a rather obvious question: "How did you proclaim the secession of Kosovo to be legal, even without a referendum, and how did 22 European Union countries legalize this secession, while destroying European law and the foundations of European law, on which the European policy and EU policy are based?"

Marko Gasic, an international affairs commentator, said Kosovo's vote was recognized because it's not part of the union.

"Some say the EU has double standards on this matter. I would say that they just have very low standards on this matter, in terms of international law and their consistency in obeying it. Because the EU opposes Catalan secession in Spain and it supports Kosovo secession in Serbia," Gasic told RT.

He added, "this is clearly a schizophrenic position the EU has."

Gasic provided some historical insight into the EU's past stance on Kosovo secession.

"While opposing the referendum in Spain, it was insisting and organizing referenda in Yugoslavia," he reminded. "In Yugoslavia they were saying that it didn’t matter what the constitution said; in Spain it is saying the constitution is all important. In Yugoslavia they said you have two weeks to decide whether you want independence for parts of Yugoslavia and we will decide within a week for you - this was in 1992."

Gasic expressed doubt that the EU has learned any lessons from its past experience in Yugoslavia since "it never admitted any mistakes" there

"I believe the EU would behave in exactly the same way again because [Kosovo] is not an area that belongs to the club, the rich man’s club, as Spain does," he added.

 
A person holds up a banner during a protest in Barcelona, Spain October 3, 2017. © Yves Herman

In the case of Yugoslavia and Kosovo, the EU is "deciding the fate of countries outside the European Union," because although it craves "stability in EU countries," it has no problem when it comes to "instability outside of the EU... because that gives the EU an excuse to project itself into those areas," Gasic argued.

The political analyst went on to note that "if the EU wants to be consistent with international law, it should oppose secession in Spain, or in Serbia, or anywhere else in line with the terms of Helsinki Final Act and the UN Charter. Self-determination should be within nation states or rather within states, not without states."

"The EU behaves selectively according to where its power interests lie. It is supporting Spain not because Spain is right, I believe Spain is, it is supporting Spain because it is convenient. And it was opposing Yugoslavia and opposing Serbia now because that is an opportunity for its projected power over there."

"I think all Serbian see the comparison between Catalonia and Kosovo and Metohija. That is something that the Catalans themselves see. The Catalan government expects the EU to support its bid for independence because it is thinking 'if a drug-running, organ-harvesting criminal cabal in Kosovo can be allowed to separate from Serbia, then why shouldn’t we civilized Catalans have the same pleasure at the expense of Spain?"

You could hardly blame the Catalans for seizing the opened Pandora box the EU is responsible for. It is a little bit late for the EU to remember international law now on its Western border when it was ignoring it on its Eastern border," Gasic told RT.

'Why isn't NATO bombing Madrid for 78 days?'

Former British diplomat William Mallinson told RT that a major part of the problem involving the Catalan crisis is "the enormous size of the European Union and globalization" which brings about the "slow destruction of the nation state itself.”

This undermining of the nation state causes the "smaller parts getting irritated."

Mallinson then drew parallels between what is now happening in Spain to past events when NATO opened a relentless offensive on Yugoslavia and the capital Belgrade over the question of Kosovo independence.

"Why isn’t NATO bombing Madrid for 78 days, because the situation is similar in very many ways."

“In fact, Kosovo is even more a part of Serbia than Catalonia [is to Spain.] Let’s remember in the Middle Ages joined when Ferdinand and Isabella joined all those bits of Spain together. Let’s remember that Spain is a united country but it is a conglomerate. We also must remember this dangerous knock-on effect. This is going to feed Basque anger more and more. And of course, other parts of Europe, possibly even the Walloons in Belgium, not to mention Scotland,” he continued.

Mallinson suggested a possible solution to the ongoing crisis is to "throw out the hotheads and get Mr. Rajoy to talk to the leaders of Catalonia to try to come to some kind of temporary compromise while everyone gets together and try to put a stop to these deleterious effects of globalization and the destruction of the nation state."

"Keep the interfering people out,” he emphasized.  

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Anti-Russia spin pushed by those who lost US election & can't face reality – Putin to Le Figaro

A powerful bureaucracy is preventing US presidents from making changes, Vladimir Putin told Le Figaro, saying he’s not surprised Donald Trump hasn’t restored relations with Moscow amid a power struggle – just as Obama failed to shut down Guantanamo.

Despite early signals from the Trump administration that it would not mind improving relations with Russia, which seemed to hit rock bottom during the last months of the Obama presidency, Moscow “had no special expectations” with regards to the new US President Trump, the Russian leader said in an interview to be published in full Wednesday.

READ FULL VERSION of Putin’s interview

 
Russian President Vladimir Putin © Sergey Guneev

While US presidents “come and go,” its political landscape is hardly prone to changes, Putin said, noting that the incumbent US leader “is steering a traditional US policy.”

This political invariability can be ascribed to the sprawling US bureaucratic machine, which imposes rigid constraints on every neophyte leader as soon as he rises to power, Putin argued.

“When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits… These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes,” Putin elaborated, noting that no administration is able to escape this trap, which significantly narrows its room for maneuver.

READ MORE: ‘Reading US papers is dangerous’: Moscow ridicules report that Trump shared secrets with Russian FM

Putin argued that former US President Obama also fell victim to the system as he was not able to deliver on his pre-election promise to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison. Describing Obama as a “forward-thinking man,” Putin said that he has no doubt that Obama genuinely wanted to follow through his pledge, but failed even though the controversial Cuban prison was known primarily for torture and a practice of unlawful detentions.

“Can you imagine France or Russia acting this way? This would have been a disaster. But it is possible in the United States and continues to this day,” Putin said, referring to widespread and well-documented human rights abuses in the prison.

The Russian president said Moscow still hopes for a political normalization with Washington, but is in “no hurry” and “ready to wait” until the anti-Russian hysteria, fueled by the defeated party which seeks to shift the blame for its own loss on Russia, subsides.

“That said, I am cautiously optimistic, and I think that we can and should be able to reach agreements on key issues,” he said.

Criticizing the increase in NATO military spending and its build-up on Russia’s doorstep, Putin nevertheless noted that Trump showed a “pragmatic and understandable approach” when he demanded from other NATO member states to share the financial burden of common defense with the US.

READ MORE: ‘Turn for the worse’: Russian envoy blasts NATO’s latest steps in Europe

 
The West Wing White House in Washington, US © Jonathan Ernst

Dismissing allegations of Russian meddling in the US and French presidential elections, Putin argued that claims that Moscow was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee emails have not been supported by evidence. He added that it does not take much effort to cover up the source of the attack for the purpose of making Moscow a scapegoat.

“As President Trump once said, and I think that he was totally right when he said it could have been someone sitting on their bed or somebody intentionally inserted a flash drive with the name of a Russian national, or something like that,” Putin said.

The Russian leader believes that essence of the problem lies not in the Moscow’s perceived interference in the electoral process, but in the unwillingness of those who were stunned by the defeat in the November elections to take responsibility for their poor performance.

READ MORE: Fox News host speaks Russian on air in outburst to ‘potential Russian overlords’

“They are absolutely reluctant to admit this, and prefer deluding themselves and others into thinking it was not their fault, that their policy was correct, they did all the right things, but someone from the outside thwarted them. But it was not so. They just lost and they have to admit it,” Putin said.

Apparently, Trump turned out to be “closer to the people and better understood what ordinary voters want,” Putin said, suggesting that the Democrats need to put up with the fact and adding that when those drop this mindset “it will be easier for us to work [with the US].”

While there is no timeline for when such a turnaround will happen, Putin believes that this phase in US-Russia relations, during which Russia is being dragged into US internal policy, is temporary.

“The fact that this is being done using anti-Russia tools is not good, as it brings discord into international affairs,” Putin said. “But it will pass, everything passes, and this will pass as well.”

READ MORE: Lavrov: Trump admin are business people, dialogue free from ideological bias

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