Russia's Putin softens anti-US rhetoric with call for economic cooperation
MOSCOW - Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, flanked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, third left, visits the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 17, 2015. Alexei Nikolsky/ RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via APRussia has key interests in common with the United States and needs to work with it on a common agenda, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 18 in a television interview.
In his comments to the state-run Rossiya channel, Putin appeared to soften his anti-American rhetoric after being highly critical. Relations between Moscow and Washington and other Western powers have soured over the conflict in Russia's neighbour Ukraine, sinking to an all-time low.
"We have disagreements on several issues on the international agenda. But at the same time there is something that unites us, that forces us to work together," Putin said.
"I mean general efforts directed at making the world economy more democratic, measured and balanced, so that the world order is more democratic. We have a common agenda."
Putin has in the past fiercely attacked the United States and the West in general, blaming them for the Ukraine crisis, which Russia says was the result of a Western-backed "coup" against Ukraine's former leader Viktor Yanukovich.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations from Kiev and the West that it is supporting pro-Russian rebels with troops and weapons in eastern Ukraine, where more than 6,000 people have been killed since last April.
His latest remark comes two days after an annual TV phone-in show in which Putin accused the United States of trying to dominate world affairs, saying it wanted "not allies, but vassals". However, his criticisms of the West were more moderate than in some previous appearances.
However, both Russia and the West say they back a peace deal agreed in Minsk in February, as a result of which a ceasefire in the Donbass region is largely holding.