18 December

Putin addresses global challenges at annual press conference

Putin addresses global challenges at annual press conference

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed major problems currently facing the world at his annual press conference on Thursday.

This year, due to coronavirus-related restrictions, Putin held his 16th annual press conference in an online format, where he spoke to journalists and the public from his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo.
The event lasted 4 hours and 29 minutes and included questions from the general public. While 774 journalists were accredited to attend, only 237 were present at the International Trade Center in Moscow where the conference was hosted.

Putin answered more than 60 questions on a wide array of issues ranging from domestic matters to international affairs and global problems such as the coronavirus pandemic.


Despite rumors that have been circulating about the origin of the coronavirus, there is no evidence that can back these accusations against certain countries, Putin said.

"As for the origin [of the coronavirus], there are a lot of rumors. I would not like to talk about them all while addressing the country and the whole world, particularly because we haven't come across any evidence that confirms these accusations against anyone," the president said.

"I think that now we need to build on other issues: not to find fault, but to unite efforts to deal with the problem," the president added.

Joint efforts in the fight against the coronavirus would set international cooperation on the right path, according to the president.

"We should be thinking about how to help those people that have found themselves in particularly difficult situations, remove some types of trade restrictions, sanctions against those countries and fields of cooperation that are essential in overcoming the consequences of the pandemic," Putin said.

Turning to how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the domestic situation, Putin emphasized that a primary task of the nation's healthcare system is to ensure that citizens have full access to necessary medical resources.

"The priority field for the primary health-care system is to ensure that citizens have 100 percent access to medical services. I can see that there are many issues here that require a prompt solution. This is what we will focus on at first," Putin said.

Among the issues that need to be addressed are the training of medical personnel, the provision of necessary medical resources and reforms in relation to the sanitary-epidemiological service so that it can function more efficiently, he added.


The international community should move beyond rhetoric to action and offer assistance in Nagorno-Karabakh, Putin noted.

"We hope that international mediators will finally move from words to deeds and help those that need assistance, refugees returning to Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.

Russia shouldn't be the only one doing this by sending humanitarian convoys there, but also international organizations, for example, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, he added.

He further noted that the main goal of the trilateral agreement reached earlier by the leaders of Russian, Armenia and Azerbaijan was aimed at saving human lives, and that everything else is secondary.


The Russian president expects that at least some, if not all, problems in Russia-U.S. relations can be resolved during Joe Biden's presidency.

"We proceed from the premise that the newly elected president of the United States will understand what is happening -- he is an experienced person both in domestic policy and in foreign policy -- and we expect that all the issues which have arisen, at least some of them, will be solved under the new administration," Putin said.

Nevertheless, bilateral ties have been held hostage to U.S. domestic policy, and this has negatively affected the United States as well, he added.

When asked whether Russia is responsible for the deterioration of its relations with the United States, Putin said that the United States withdrew from key military agreements and failed to uphold its promises.

"Did we leave the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty? We didn't do that. And we have to respond by creating new weapons systems that can confront threats ... then our colleagues [the United States] withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty ... and the Open Skies Treaty," Putin said.

He noted that the United States accumulated a global network of military bases, and the country's military budget amounts to 770 billion U.S. dollars, contrasting the Russian budget that is equal to 46 billion, stressing that Russia displays a less aggressive policy than the United States.

The president said that due to a reluctance from the side of the United States to continue dialogue and negotiations in relation to the INF Treaty, the United States cannot expect Russia to leave things the way they are.

The president added that the termination of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which will expire in February, poses a threat and leaves the world with nothing associated with the control of the arms race.

TV BRICS reports with reference to Xinhua News Agency.


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