Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the participants on the opening day of the Russian Energy Week, highlighting that the Russian fuel and energy sector will open new opportunities for investment projects and cooperation.
Skripal is a 'Traitor'
Vladimir Putin commented on the Skripal case, saying that Sergei Skripal is a spy and a traitor to his homeland.
"As for the Skripals and so on, this spy scandal has been fostered artificially. I am looking through some information sources and your colleagues are pushing the thought that Mr. Skripal is almost some kind of human rights activist. He is just a spy, a traitor to the motherland … Imagine: you are a citizen of your own country and all of a sudden there is a person who betrays his motherland. How would you treat him? He is just a scumbag, that is all," the president said.
According to Putin, the sooner this information campaign around Skripal ends, the better.
The president also said that he was surprised to hear that someone believed in Russia's involvement in the poisoning incident in the city of Amesbury on June 30 that left one person, who lived in a hostel for homeless, dead and one more injured.
"Do you want to say that we have also poisoned a homeless person? I am surprised to hear all these rumors on this case: some guys arrived in the United Kingdom and started to poison homeless persons there. That is absurd," Putin added.
On June 30, Dawn Sturgess, who lived in a hostel for homeless, and her partner Charlie Rowley were hospitalized in critical condition in Amesbury, a town a few miles from Salisbury. Shortly after, the UK police announced that the couple was believed to have been handled an item allegedly contaminated with the same military-grade nerve agent, which was allegedly used in an attack on the Skripals in Salisbury. On July 8, Sturgess died at the hospital, while Rowley was soon discharged from the medical facility.
Washington has made a mistake by using sanctions policies that undermine the dollar's credibility as a reserve currency, they are "biting the hand that feeds them," Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at Russian Energy Week 2018.
"It seems to me that our American partners are making a colossal strategic mistake, they are undermining confidence in the dollar as a universal, in fact, the only reserve currency today, undermining faith in it as this universal tool," he said.
"But it seems to me that this is a typical mistake of any empire — when people think that everything is so powerful, so strong and so stable that there will be no negative consequences. But no, they will come sooner or later," Putin noted.
On Tuesday, The Bell reported that the government was allegedly working on a draft project aimed at the de-dollarization of the Russian economy based on the proposals of Russia's VTB Bank President Andrey Kostin. The document is reportedly expected to be given assent by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Nord Stream-2 Project Will Be Implemented
American LNG on the European market is 30% costlier than Russian pipeline gas; Russia supplies energy resources to Europe at competitive prices, the president stated.
"There are some things that mean more than political intrigues. This concerns, for example, deliveries to the Federal Republic of Germany. Not everyone knows that Germany has made the decision to close its nuclear energy sector, while nuclear energy accounts for 34 percent of the overall energy balance. What can this vacuum be filled by?" Putin said.
The prices of supplies of Russian gas to Europe will always be competitive, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted.
"We are a traditional supplier, a pipeline gas supplier. We have been doing this since the 1960s, we are doing it extremely responsibly, professionally and at very competitive prices for the European market … The distance between Russia and Europe makes pipeline supplies optimal and the price will always be competitive. Always," Putin said.
The Nord Stream-2 project envisages the construction of two gas pipelines that will run from Russia, through the Baltic Sea, to a hub in Germany, bypassing Ukraine entirely. The project is a joint venture of the Russian energy giant Gazprom with French Engie, Austrian OMV AG, UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and German Uniper and Wintershall.
EU Initiative on Iran Came Late
The EU initiative to create a financial mechanism for continuing trade with Iran despite US sanctions came late, but it is better late than never, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"It [the initiative] came late. But it is better late than never… French President [Emmanuel Macron] has recently given a speech in New York and talked directly about the need to increase the EU’s economic sovereignty and reduce dependence on the United States. And this is right," Putin said at the plenary session.
Two Options for Syria Situation
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow wants all foreign forces, including the Russian military, to eventually withdraw from Syria.
The US has two options for the Syria situation: either get Damascus' permission to remain in the country or a UN mandate, there's no other way, according to Putin.
"There are two possibilities to remedy the situation. The first is that the United States should receive a mandate from the UN Security Council to have its armed forces present on the territory of a third country, in this case on the territory of Syria. Or to receive an invitation from the legitimate government of Syria to place their military forces there for some purpose. International law does not provide a third way envisaging the presence of one country on the territory of another," Putin said.
Russia, Turkey and Iran are guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria.
In late 2017, victory over the Daesh* terrorist group was declared in Syria and Iraq, with some territories of the two countries still being cleared of terrorists with the assistance of Russian forces. The main efforts in Syria are currently focused on a political settlement and the post-war reconstruction of the country.
Presence on Global Coal Market
The demand for coal is steadily growing; Russia should consolidate and boost its presence on the world market, Putin stated.
"Another important area of the world power industry, which again is showing positive dynamics, is the coal industry. Ten years ago, few people believed in the prospect of supplies of this energy source, but today we see the demand for coal growing steadily, primarily in Asia Pacific Region countries. It is extremely important for Russia to gain a foothold and to increase its presence on this dynamic market," Putin said.
Export Orders in Nuclear Industry
Putin has noted that Russia is actively building 25 nuclear power units in 12 countries around the world and a total of 36 NPP units are in the Russian order book.
"Russia will consistently work to increase the export orders of its nuclear power industry,” Putin noted.
Dialogue Between Oil-Producing Countries
"We have already increased output by 400,000 barrels per day, as agreed with our partners. If necessary, we can boost this by another 200,000-300,000 barrels per day," Putin said at the plenary session of the Russian Energy Week forum.
Russia will continue to promote dialogue between oil-producing countries to ensure the stability of oil prices, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.
"Russia will continue to promote dialogue between oil-producing countries in order to ensure the stability of oil prices, create conditions for the sustainable development of the industry and for the implementation of long-term investment plans," Putin said.
US President Donald Trump is partially right in his estimates regarding current oil prices and Russia would be quite satisfied with $65-75 per barrel, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.
"President Trump… believes that the price is high. But it seems to me that he is partly right. We would quite be satisfied with 65-70-75 dollars per barrel. This is quite normal in order to ensure the efficient operation of energy companies and the investment process," Putin said.
Vladimir Putin confirmed that Moscow will work with the United States and its current president, Donald Trump, noting that the US is Russia’s “natural partner in a number of areas of activity, including international security, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against terrorism, the fight against climate change and for the environment."
Putin Says Does Not Consider Trump Compromised
"First, I do not consider President Trump compromised. The people elected him, the people voted for him. Some do not like it; some do not want to respect the opinion of the American voters. But this is not our business, this is an internal affair of the United States," Putin said.
President Vladimir Putin expressed hope for the end of the "obscurantism" around Russia's alleged meddling in the US elections.
"I want the obscurantism around Russia's alleged interference in the US election campaign to end. So that at last the US elites calm down and figure out relations between each other, so that a balance, a certain balance between common sense and national interests, is restored there, just like in the oil market," Putin noted.
The president added that the US elections should not affect relations between Moscow and Washington or the situation in the world in general.
"Sometimes I think that it would be good for us if everyone willing to impose sanctions would introduce all the sanctions as soon as possible. That would give us an opportunity to protect our national interests with the tools that we consider to be most effective for us," Putin said at the Russian Energy Week.
The president pointed out that Russia was not supporting any illegal sanctions.
"You know that it is not us who are introducing sanctions against the United States and the West. We respond with very reserved steps, very careful ones, in order to prevent harm, primarily, to ourselves. We will continue to do this in the future," Putin added.
Riyadh, Moscow Collectively Producing 1MBD More Under OPEC+ Deal
Saudi Arabia and Russia have been collectively producing an additional one million barrels per day (mb/d) in order to meet oil demand and implement the joint OPEC — non-OPEC decision to ease production cuts, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Falih said on Wednesday.
"We made a commitment together with Russia and other partners that we will bring compliance [of OPEC — non-OPEC with oil production cuts] back to 100 percent and we are on our way. As of today, this has today translated to about a million barrels just between Russia and Saudi Arabia – 700,000 [for Riyadh] plus 300,000 [for Moscow]. I know that the UAE and Iraq have also pumped more. So OPEC+ is very responsive to meeting demand," Falih said at the Russian Energy Week international forum in Moscow.
The joint efforts of Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to balance the oil market have benefited all participants and this cooperation should be expanded, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
"I would like to note that in recent years we have had very fruitful contacts and efficient cooperation. It seems to me that our joint efforts have benefited all market participants, including both producers and consumers," Putin said at talks with OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo.
The president also urged for an expansion of Russia-OPEC cooperation beyond the framework of balancing the oil market.
The second annual Russian Energy Week will be held from October 3 to October 6. Sputnik is the official media partner of the event.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia