Vladimir Putin answered the questions of the journalist of the American television channel NBC Megin Kelly. The interview was recorded 1 March in the Kremlin and 2 March in Kaliningradde.
M. Kelly (as translated): Thank you very much, Mr. President, for accepting us.
If you do not mind, we would like to build a work in this way. We would like to talk about the news that you created today in the course of your speech, during the announcement of the Address to the Federal Assembly.
And as part of our preparation for a more extensive and lengthy interview with you, we would then like to touch upon a few personal moments. Most of the second part of the interview, when we talk to you about you, we would like to do tomorrow, if you are satisfied with such work.
Vladimir Putin: Please.
M.Kelly: You said today that Russia has developed several new weapons systems, in particular, that a new intercontinental ballistic missile has been created that has a nuclear engine and accordingly makes its detection and protection systems useless. Some analysts in the West, after your speech, managed to say that the new "cold war" was thus declared. From your point of view, is a new "cold war" declared? Did you really announce a new "cold war"?
Vladimir Putin: From my point of view, the people you mentioned are not analysts-they are propagandists. Why? Because everything that I spoke about today is not an initiative work on our part. This is the answer to the missile defense program and the response to the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2002 from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile.
Speaking of the arms race, it began at this very moment - at the time when the United States withdrew from the treaty. And we wanted to prevent this. We offered our American partners joint work on these programs.
First, we asked them not to go unilaterally, not to destroy this agreement. But the US did it. We did not do it - the United States did it.
But even after that, we offered them a joint work. I then told my colleague: "Imagine what will happen if Russia and the United States join their efforts in such an important task as strategic security. The world will change for a long historical perspective, and the level of world security will rise to an unprecedented height. " We were told: "This is very interesting." But in the end they refused all our proposals.
Then I said: "You understand, we will have to develop shock weapons systems in order to maintain balance in order to overcome your missile defense systems." And they heard in response, they told us: "We are making a missile defense system not against you, but you do what you want. We will proceed from the fact that this is not against us, not against the US ".
M.Kelly: This happened immediately after 11 September 2001 year?
Vladimir Putin: No, it was after the US withdrew from the treaty. The US withdrew from the contract in 2002, and these conversations were somewhere in 2003-2004.
M.Kelly: You were quoted then, quoted in the sense that you said that it was a mistake on the part of the United States, but not a threat. Do you now perceive the United States as a threat?
Vladimir Putin: We have always said that the development of an anti-missile defense system poses a threat to us, we have always spoken about this. The American partners did not publicly acknowledge this, they said that it was against Iran basically. But in fact, in the end, in conversations, negotiations, they recognized that, of course, this system will nullify our nuclear deterrence potential.
And imagine the situation. In 1972, what was the point of the treaty, which was then signed, is that the US and the USSR had only two regions that were protected from a missile attack: one in the US, one in the Soviet Union. This created a threat to the potential aggressor to receive a retaliatory strike. In 2002, the US said: "No, we do not need it any more, we will create everything that we want, globally, all over the world."
M.Kelly: Again, not immediately literal, but yes, after the events of 11 September 2001, when the US rethought its policy and its position in terms of security. And, you see, when this happened in the country, is it not natural to rethink your position, the security policy?
Vladimir Putin: No, it's not natural. This is complete nonsense. Because the missile defense system is aimed at combating ballistic missiles, which no terrorists have. This is an explanation for the housewives who listen and watch your transmission. But if the housewives hear what I'm saying, if you show it to them and they hear it, and they will be able to understand that the strikes of 11 September and the anti-missile defense system have nothing in common with each other. And in order to protect themselves from terrorist attacks, the great powers should not create a threat to each other, but unite their efforts in the fight against terror.
M.Kelly: The system you spoke about today, the ICBM, did you test it, and it really works? I ask this question, because some analysts have already stated that in fact the tests were unsuccessful and the animation was shown instead of real frames.
Vladimir Putin: I spoke about several systems today. What do you mean - you mean the intercontinental ballistic heavy rocket?
M.Kelly: Yes. I'm asking about that rocket, which, as you said, makes protection from it impossible, useless.
Vladimir Putin: Everything that I spoke about today, each of these systems easily overcomes the missile defense system - each. This is the meaning of all these developments.
M.Kelly: Tests were?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course.
M.Kelly: And the tests were successful? Did it work?
Vladimir Putin: Very good.
Some of them are subject to additional work, additional work should be done on some systems. Some are already in service. With respect to some, industrial production has already begun. They already went to the series.
If we return to the beginning of our conversation, here, see, such a system is deployed in Alaska. We are divided between Alaska and Chukotka, the Russian coast, only 60 kilometers.
Two districts are set in Eastern Europe. One has already been established in Romania, the construction of the second one in Poland is coming to an end. Plus the naval component. Ships are in close proximity to the Russian shores both in the south and in the north.
Imagine that we would now put missile systems along the US-Mexican or along the US-Canadian border in their territories from two sides and plus the ships would be dragged from two sides - what would you say about this, then steps? And we would say that you are accelerating the arms race. This is not nonsense, no? And so it is.
M.Kelly: I want to come back. That is, I understand you correctly, what exactly are you saying that we are now in the framework of a new arms race?
Vladimir Putin: I want to say that the United States, when we left the ABM Treaty in 2002, forced us to start work on new weapons systems. We told our partners about this, they said: "Well, do what you want." So we did - "Please, shave."
M.Kelly: When you told the American partners that you are creating new weapons systems, you said exactly in such terms that Russia is creating a new intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear source of its own fuel, which will make missile systems useless and pointless? So it was?
Vladimir Putin: Of course not. I did not know at that moment what we can answer, I tell you honestly. Hence, our partners proceeded, apparently, from the fact that we can not answer anything. The economy was in a difficult situation, the defense industry, the army, so I think that it could not have occurred to anyone that we could make such a giant leap forward in the development of strategic weapons in such a short time. I think the CIA said, probably, to the President of the United States: "They will not do anything." And the Pentagon said: "And we will do it - we will make a powerful modern system of anti-missile defense of a global nature." Well, here we go ahead.
But I will answer directly to your question. I can tell you what was said to our American partners at the time and what I personally said.
M.Kelly: Do you mean George W. Bush?
Vladimir Putin: Who was in 2002, 2003, 2004 years President?
M.Kelly: Did this continue all the time? Or only during this specific time period that you indicated?
Vladimir Putin: In fact, we have eaten all the baldness, talked about this constantly for 15 years. And the following was word-for-word, almost verbatim: I said that we will not develop a missile defense system now, like you. Firstly, because it is very expensive, and we do not have such resources. And, secondly, we still do not know how this will work, - and you do not know, and we are even more so.
But in order to maintain a strategic balance so that you can not nullify our nuclear deterrence forces, we will develop shock systems that will be able to overcome your missile defense system.
It was said directly, absolutely frankly, without any aggression, I just said what we're going to do. Nothing personal.
And in response to this we heard: "We are not doing anything against you, but you do what you want, we will proceed from the fact that it's not against us, not against the US."
M.Kelly: Let's talk about today also about the future, as you said today that you use this weapon if an attack on Russia or its allies is committed. Question: Did you mean any attack or only a nuclear strike against Russia or its allies?
Vladimir Putin: I heard a question.
I also want to say that in 2004 - I remembered it today - at a press conference I said that we will develop, we will name a specific missile system, "Avangard" we call it.
Now we called it "Vanguard", but then I just said how it will work. He said straight, even said how it will work. But we hoped that at least it would be heard, they would try to discuss this with us somehow, to talk about working together. No, nothing, as if nothing had been heard. Reducing strategic offensive weapons and the missile defense system are two different things.
M.Kelly: That is, you did not see the need to disclose information.
Vladimir Putin: We will reduce the number of carriers, the number of warheads, according to START-3. That is, the number will be reduced from both sides, but one side, the United States, will develop anti-missile systems.
That is, in the end, there will come a situation when all our nuclear missiles, the entire missile potential of Russia will be reduced to zero. Therefore, we have always linked it together. So it was in the Soviet-American times, these are natural things, everyone understands this.
M.Kelly: It turns out, do I understand you correctly that those 4000 units of nuclear weapons that Russia currently possesses can not overcome the US anti-missile systems at the moment?
Vladimir Putin: They can. Today they can. But you are developing your anti-missile systems. The range of anti-missiles increases, accuracy increases, this weapon is improved. Therefore, we need to adequately respond to this, so that we can overcome the system not only today, but tomorrow, when you have a new weapon.
M.Kelly: I understand, and that is why the presence of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear engine in Russia would really radically change the situation and would be a powerful factor.
You said that some tests were excellent, they produced very good results, others - not quite, they still need to work on them. If you will allow me, I will raise the question in this way: is there currently a working and working version of an ICBM with a nuclear engine in Russia?
Vladimir Putin: Look, I did not say that the tests of any of these systems were unsuccessful. They all went well. Just each of these weapons systems is at different stages of readiness. One of them is already on alert duty, in the army is located. The second - too. Some systems are working on the plan. We have no doubt that they will be in service, as well as there was no doubt in the 2004 year that we will make a missile with the so-called winged planning unit.
You are always talking about intercontinental ballistic missiles, new missiles ...
M.Kelly: You talk about ICBMs all the time.
Vladimir Putin: No. I say that we are creating only one completely new rocket of a heavy class, which will replace our rocket, which we call "Voevod", and you are called, "Lord God forbid," Satan. " We will replace it with a new, more powerful missile. Here it is - ballistic. All other systems are non-linear.
This is the whole point, because the missile defense system works against ballistic missiles. And we have created a whole set of new strategic weapons that do not move along ballistic trajectories, and anti-ballistic missile systems against them are powerless. This means that the money of US taxpayers is thrown to the wind.
M.Kelly: I want to return to the question that started to ask. You said that Russia uses these systems in case an attack on Russia or its allies is committed. The attack is nuclear or anyone?
Vladimir Putin: We have two reasons to respond with the help of our nuclear deterrent forces. This attack with nuclear weapons on us or an attack on the Russian Federation using conventional weapons, but in the event that a threat to the existence of the state is created.
M.Kelly: Is this consistent with the current, existing Russian doctrine of the use of nuclear weapons?
Vladimir Putin: Absolutely right. Two reasons to respond with nuclear weapons.
M.Kelly: Are you interested in conducting new negotiations on a new treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive arms?
Vladimir Putin: We are soon to expire the START-3. We are ready to continue this dialogue. For us, after all, what is important? We agree to reduce either the continuation of existing conditions, the reduction of carriers, the reduction of warheads. But now, when we have a weapon that easily overcomes all ABM systems, it is not so critical for us to reduce the number of ballistic missiles and warheads.
M.Kelly: The new systems you talked about would become part of the new negotiations on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons?
Vladimir Putin: From the point of view that both the number of carriers and the number of warheads that can be placed on them or will be placed, of course, should be included in the overall credit. And we will show you how it will look from afar.
We have an understanding among the military as to how these checks are carried out, in principle, in this sense, well-developed mechanisms and a fairly high level of trust. In principle, the military works quite professionally with each other. Politicians talk a lot, and the military know what they are doing.
M.Kelly: Are you a politician?
Vladimir Putin: I and the military too, I am the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. And I 17 years was a military intelligence officer.
M.Kelly: Are you personally impressed by the fact that you worked for the KGB, and that this is a well-known fact, do people know about it? Do you have positive emotions?
Vladimir Putin: Neither positive nor negative. It was a great experience, and in many different areas. It was useful for me when I moved into the civil sphere. In this sense, this, of course, a positive experience helped me.
M.Kelly: How did this experience help you?
Vladimir Putin: You know, I worked after I left intelligence, say, at university, was an assistant to the rector of St. Petersburg University. This is working with people, this is the ability to establish contacts, encourage people to do something, unite people. This is very important in the academic environment. Then I worked as Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg. Responsibility is even greater, wider. I was in charge of the international relations of St. Petersburg, a five millionth metropolis. I first met, working in St. Petersburg on this post, with Henry Kissinger. All this helped, of course, in the work then, and then additional experience helped to work in Moscow.
M.Kelly: Do you think this experience gives you an advantage, personally, over yours as allies, and rivals, opponents?
Vladimir Putin: It's hard for me to say. I have no other experience. The only thing that I know, my partners - heads of state or government - are exceptional, outstanding people. They went through a large selection and selection. There are no random people at this level. And each of them has its advantages over others.
M.Kelly: A question. You have long been in power in Russia, in your age, there are already four American presidents. Do you prefer any of them among the rest?
Vladimir Putin: You will forgive me, this is not a very correct question. Each of my partners is good in its own way. And on the whole, we had good relations with almost everyone. With Bill Clinton, he was already leaving the post of President, but we could work together with him for several more months. Then, with Bush, and with Obama, now less, of course, but with the incumbent President. Everyone has something that can not but cause respect. At the same time, we could argue, disagree, and often this happens, we have different positions on many, even key issues, but still we managed somehow to maintain normal, human relations. If this were not so, it would not only be more difficult, but much worse for everyone.
M.Kelly: How do you think it is important, as a President, to create the impression of power, to project power?
Vladimir Putin: It is important not to create an impression, but to show it. It is also important that we understand by force. It's not just pounding your fists and shouting loudly. I believe that strength has several dimensions.
First, a person must be convinced of the rightness of what he does. And second, he must be ready to go to the end in achieving the goals that he sets himself.
M.Kelly: I have a question in this regard: when from time to time there are photos in the Western press and in the American press you, say, galloping on a horse, without a shirt, does this make any sense? What is this for?
Vladimir Putin: Well, I'm resting. There are your Russian colleagues, there is the Internet. But so that it is very purposeful, we do not do it. Take what you like. I have a lot of photos in the working environment, with papers in the office, but it's not interesting to anyone.
M.Kelly: (Laughter.) Are you saying that people like it when you take pictures without a shirt?
Vladimir Putin: You know, I saw my photos when I jump on a bear. But I have not galloped on a bear yet, but there are photos.
M.Kelly: Elections can be said on the nose, in two weeks. You have neither more nor less than 65 years. Some, maybe even many people at this age are already thinking about how to slow down a bit. Do you foresee a situation in your future when you want to slow down slightly?
Vladimir Putin: First of all, as far as I know, there are many politicians in the world who are older than me, and they work very actively.
M.Kelly: Including in my country.
Vladimir Putin: Not only in the US, but also in other countries. There are a lot of such people in the world, there are in Europe, anywhere in the world. But if a person comes to the first place, he must actively work as if he is doing it for the first time in his life, like the first and last.
There is a Constitution. I have never violated the Constitution and never changed the Constitution. So I will work within the framework of the Basic Law of Russia. Of course, if voters give me this opportunity - to work for another term, I will work, of course, with full force.
M.Kelly: The latter, as it is already late, is a question for today.
Sorry if the answer to it will probably be long, but the question sounds like this. As President, a person in the office of President, what do you consider your greatest achievement? And what do you consider your biggest mistake, a mistake?
Vladimir Putin: You know, both will be very close.
The biggest achievement is that we have radically changed the economy. It almost doubled in volume. We have halved the number of people living below the poverty line.
And at the same time, from what has not been done to the end, it's that too many people live below the poverty line. We need to remove these "scissors" between those who earn a lot, and those who earn too little. And in this regard, there are many pluses, and unresolved issues so far.
At the beginning of the 2000-ies the population of the country was declining every year by almost a million. Can you imagine what a disaster? 900 thousand almost. We have broken this situation. We even went for a natural increase. Infant mortality is minimal, maternal mortality is almost reduced to zero. We have prepared and are implementing a large program to support motherhood and childhood. At us now the greatest rate of growth of a life expectancy.
Much has changed in the economy. But we did not manage to solve the main task in the economy, we did not change the structure of the economy as we need it. We have not achieved the necessary growth rates of labor productivity, but we know how to do this. And I'm sure we will do it. The thing is that we did not have the opportunity to solve this problem so far, because until now we have not yet created macroeconomic conditions for concrete actions in these areas.
At the beginning of the way inflation was at 30 percent, now it is 2,2. Gold and foreign exchange reserves are growing, we have a stable macroeconomics. This is what gives us a chance to take the next step in the direction of increasing labor productivity, and in attracting investments, including private investments, and in changing the structure of the economy.
I tell you this by large blocks. There are also specific directions, including modern technologies and artificial intelligence, digitalization, biology with medicine, genomic research and so on.
M.Kelly: I hope that tomorrow in Kaliningrad, when we have more time, we will talk much more about the economy, about how you are going to be re-elected, about other issues related to Russia. I know that you had a very long, difficult day, so special thanks to you for spending so much time.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, too.
M. Kelly (as translated): Mr. President, it's great to see you again.
So, we are here in Kaliningrad. Why are we in Kaliningrad? Is this a place that is a threat to NATO, is it the location of some nuclear weapons and thus try to give some signal to someone?
Vladimir Putin: Why Kaliningrad? Because I regularly go to the regions of the Russian Federation. This is one of the regions where I also appear regularly, I am here. This time, the reason was a meeting of regional media, which they decided to hold here. I did not decide to hold this meeting here, but they, your colleagues from the regional media of Russia. I had an agreement with them that I visit these meetings once a year and meet with representatives of the regional press, so today I came here. This has nothing to do with any signals outside, it's just our internal political work.
M.Kelly: I see.
The last time we met in June, I asked you about the conclusions our intelligence services made about Russia's interference in the presidential elections. You told me that in these reports there is nothing special, that if there was something concrete, then we could discuss something. You told me that you need turnout, passwords, names.
Since that time, 13 Russians, three companies were accused of Müller's report on interference in the elections, Yevgeny Prigogine and many others who led a cyberwar from their offices in St. Petersburg in Russia. There are specific names, appearances, passwords. We can now continue such discussions, as you think?
Vladimir Putin: Of course. We can not just - I think that if this topic continues to excite you, then, probably, we should even talk about this topic. But if you think that the question has already been asked, I am ready to answer it.
M.Kelly: Why did you allow such an attack on the US?
Vladimir Putin: And why did you decide that the power of Russia and I, including some of them, were allowed to do this? You have now named a number of persons, some of them I know, some are unknown, but they are just individuals, they do not represent Russian power. And even assuming that I'm not 100% sure whether they did something during the presidential campaign in the US or did not do it - I just do not know anything about it - it has nothing to do with the position of the Russian state. After all, it was about the interference of Russia as a Russian state in the internal political affairs of the United States. Nothing has changed since we spoke with you last time in St. Petersburg. There were some names. So what? With the same success, it could be the names of some Americans who, while sitting here, interfere in your own political processes. This has not changed anything.
M.Kelly: But they were not Americans, they were Russians. Hundreds of people, a budget of 1,2 billion dollars, was sent to commit an attack on the US within the framework of cyberwar. You are now preparing for the election. Should Russian people also be concerned about the fact that you do not know what is happening in your country, in your hometown?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, the world is very large and diverse. We have rather complicated relations - between the United States and the Russian Federation. And some of our people have their own opinion on these relations and react accordingly at the level of the Government of the Russian Federation, at the level of the President of the Russian Federation. There has never been any interference in the internal political processes in the United States.
You have called me a part of some individuals and say that they are Russian. So what? And maybe they, being Russian, work for some American company? Maybe one of them worked for someone from the candidates? I have no idea about this, these are not my problems. You know that, for example, in Ukraine, after the elections, some statesmen sent congratulatory telegrams to Hillary Clinton, although Trump won. Listen, are we here to do with it?
Now, in my opinion, Mr. Manafort, his last name, he was initially accused of having something to do with Russia's interference in the presidential elections in the United States. It turned out quite another that he was connected with Ukraine. And he had some problems with Ukraine. We have something to do with it?
You know, we have no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. But if you are interested in speaking on this topic, I would like to expand the field of our discussion.
M.Kelly: Of course, I want to talk about this topic. Maybe we could do it step by step, then everything would be more clear for those who are watching our interview.
You said that the Russian Federation did not order this. Do you encourage such activities?
Vladimir Putin: We do not encourage or order. But I say that the domestic political processes in the United States itself and the people who wanted to achieve some result, they could use - there are such technologies - some tools in other countries. They could send relevant information from France, from Germany, from Asia, from Russia. We have something to do with it?
M.Kelly: That is, they were not Russian.
Vladimir Putin: Well, Russians, but they were not government officials. Well, Russian, and what? Russian 146 million people, so what?
M.Kelly: And what have you done to be content with the fact that you now called?
Vladimir Putin: How?
M.Kelly: What did you do to convince yourself that they were not Russians? You said, maybe it's the Americans, maybe it was the French. What did you do to understand that in fact these 13 people, including your friends, what you did to make sure that they were not related to this, are involved in this?
Vladimir Putin: I know that they do not represent the Russian state and the Russian government. And what they did specifically, I have no idea and do not know what they were guided by. If they even did something, then let our American colleagues not just say something in the press, let them give us specific materials, with justification. We are ready to consider and talk on this topic. But you know what I'd like to say ...
M.Kelly: It would be perfect. Will you ensure their extradition in the US?
Vladimir Putin: Never. Russia does not give out its citizens to anyone, just like the United States. Do you give someone out, your citizens? This is in the first place.
Secondly, I do not see that I have committed any wrongful act.
And, thirdly, we repeatedly suggested to the United States to establish appropriate relations in this regard, to sign an appropriate interstate agreement on the extradition of criminals. The United States has evaded this and does not want to do this with Russia. What are you counting on? What are we going to give you to someone, and you are not? So international affairs are not done.
And further. You know, I ask you all the same to listen and bring to your viewers and listeners what I am going to say. We are discussing with our American friends and partners, and with the representatives of the state, and we say when they make a complaint about the fact that some Russians interfered in the elections in the US, we tell them - very recently, at a very high level: but you are constantly interfering in our political life. You imagine, they do not even deny it.
What did they say to us for the last time? They told us: yes, we interfere, but we have the right to this, because we carry democracy, and you are not, you can not. Do you think this is a civilized, modern formulation of the issue in international affairs?
We spoke yesterday about nuclear weapons, once the United States and the Soviet Union agreed, understood that the matter was about possible mutual destruction, and agreed on how to behave in this area, in the sphere of ensuring security in the presence of weapons of mass destruction . Let's now agree on how to behave in the cyberspace, which used to be in this capacity and volume.
M.Kelly: Let me ask the following question.
Vladimir Putin: We offered the United States, our partners under President Obama: let's agree on how we will build relations, develop common rules, understand and adhere to them in cyberspace.
The first reaction of the Obama administration was negative, and then in the end, at the very end of his presidential term, they told us: yes, it's interesting, let's talk. But again everything disappeared, somewhere into the swamp drowned. Well, let's agree on this, we do not mind.
M.Kelly: So, you clearly said that you think that America interfered in the elections in Russia, right?
Vladimir Putin: Constantly it does.
M.Kelly: And Russia did not interfere in the elections in America?
Vladimir Putin: No, and is not going to do it. It's impossible. For us it is impossible.
M.Kelly: Why not? Why would not you do it?
Vladimir Putin: First, we have our own principles, which consist in the fact that we do not allow ourselves to interfere in our internal affairs and do not climb into strangers. This is our principle. First.
And second, we do not have as many instruments.
M.Kelly: Come on…
Vladimir Putin: No we can not.
M.Kelly: Can not be. You just said to me yesterday that the US is developing missile defense, you are responding with nuclear weapons. And now you tell me that we interfere in the elections in Russia, and you say: we will not do this, we will follow strict moral principles.
Vladimir Putin: This is not a rocket weapon. This is a completely different field of activity. This is in the first place.
Secondly, we do not have such tools.
Vladimir Putin: This is a completely different activity. This is not a cyber war, and we do not have such tools as you. We do not have world media like you, like CNN, like yours. Where are we? We have Russia Today - everything, the only tool of our media, and then you announced ...
M.Kelly: You have your own mechanisms of military action in cyberspace.
Vladimir Putin: You interrupt me all the time, it's incorrect.
M.Kelly: I apologize.
Vladimir Putin: We have one medium - this is Russia Today, and then it was declared a foreign agent and they do not allow us to work properly, the only thing is one thing. You have a whole set, you have great opportunities for working on the Internet, the Internet is yours. All Internet controls in the hands of the United States, and all tools are in the US, the management of this cyberspace. Is it possible to compare? It's impossible. Let's agree on the rules of behavior in this cyberspace. You refuse.
M.Kelly: David and Goliath.
So, there is a specific letter that was sent by a woman who was caught red-handed. She says: "We have a small problem at work, the FBI caught us. I am not kidding. So I tried to cover up the tracks with my colleagues. I created pictures on the network, published posts on the network so that the Americans believed that they were their people. " And now you are now sitting and telling me that you do not have any tools and that the US has a whole market of cyber tools, it's just not true.
Vladimir Putin: I do not even now understand what you're talking about. You understand, this is some kind of nonsense. At you in the Congress carried out the analysis of volume of the information which acted in the Internet from any Russian sources. We analyzed the volume of information that came from our mass media, such as Russia Today. This is a hundredth part of the percentages in the entire information massif of the United States, a hundredth part. And do you think this hundredth share affected the course of the presidential election so much? It's just bullshit, you know? This is the continuation of the same line, according to which those who lost, do not want to agree with this. You see, I've already mentioned this many times. I, for example, still do not understand how the policy of the United States, headed by the current President in relation to Russia, will be built. There are many other things that are not clear, our normal work is still not settled, normal contacts are still not available.
But what is quite obvious is that the incumbent President chose a certain position within the country, he relied on those people who were ready to support the ideas with which he went to the elections. This is the main reason for his victory, not some kind of interference from the outside. It's a bullshit. Can someone believe that Russia, somewhere in the thousands of kilometers, with the help of some two or three Russians, as you said, whom I do not know that they interfered and influenced the course of the elections? You yourself are not funny?
M.Kelly: You are talking about the reasons, and I'm trying to understand, whether it happened or not. One of your good friends is actually accused of this - Eugene Prigozhin. You know him?
Vladimir Putin: I know such a person, but he is not listed in my friends. It's just a twitch of facts. There is such a businessman, he is engaged in the restaurant business, then something else. You see, he is not a government official, we have nothing to do with him.
M.Kelly: After you heard that he was accused, did you talk to him? Did you pick up the phone, call him?
Vladimir Putin: Still that did not suffice. I have so many cases and problems.
M.Kelly: He's your friend, he was just accused.
Vladimir Putin: Did not you hear what I said? He's not my friend. I know such a person, but he is not listed on my list of friends. Did I not clearly say? And we have a lot of such people. In Russia, in general, 146 million people, it's less than in the US, but still quite a lot.
M.Kelly: He is quite famous.
Vladimir Putin: Well known, and what? Is there a lot of famous people in Russia? He is not a government official, he is not a government official, he is just a private person, a businessman.
M.Kelly: Some say his real task is to do your dirty work.
Vladimir Putin: Who are these people? And what dirty work? I do not do any dirty work. Everything I do is in sight. This is the stamp you have, someone who likes to do dirty work. You think that we are doing the same. No, it's not.
M.Kelly: First, you know, you recognize this, he is a famous Russian businessman. He is accused of conducting this operation, this is the same person who is accused of sending Russian mercenaries to Syria. And they struck at complexes that belong to units supported by the Americans.
Vladimir Putin: You know, this person can have very different interests, including, say, interests in the sphere of the fuel and energy complex in Syria. But we do not support, we do not interfere with him and we do not help him. This is his personal initiative, private.
M.Kelly: You did not know about this?
Vladimir Putin: Well, I know that there are several companies, we have a couple of companies there that are involved, including, maybe, him, but this has nothing to do with our policy in Syria. And if he does something, he does it not in agreement with us, but, most likely, in agreement with the Syrian authorities or the Syrian business with which he works there. We do not interfere with this. Does your government interfere in every step of the representatives of your business, especially modest enough? This, in fact, the average business. And that, your President interferes in the affairs of every American medium-sized company, or what? Is this not nonsense?
M.Kelly: If 13 of Russians and the three organizations actually interfered in our elections, you have nothing against it?
Vladimir Putin: I do not care. I do not care because they do not represent the state.
M.Kelly: Do not you care?
Vladimir Putin: Completely indifferent. They do not represent the interests of the Russian state. And if something bothers you, tell us officially, send us the documents confirming this, explain to us what they are specifically accused of. We will then see if they have violated the Russian law ...
M.Kelly: Yes, I looked.
Vladimir Putin: No, it's not. If they violate Russian law, we will attract them. And if they did not violate the Russian law, then they should not be involved in Russia. But in the end you must understand that people in Russia do not live by American laws, but by Russian laws. So it will be. And if you want to agree with us on something, let's sit down at the negotiating table, choose the subject of these negotiations, agree, sign the document. But you refuse this!
I'm telling you the third time: we proposed a joint work in the field of cyberspace. But the US refuses to officially work in this direction, only some 13 Russians are thrown into the press. Or maybe there are not Russians, maybe there are Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just Russian citizenship. And then you need to check, maybe they have dual citizenship or a green card, and maybe they were paid for this work by the Americans. How do you know? And I do not know.
M.Kelly: At least one testimony is: Andrei Krutskikh is a Kremlin adviser on cyberspace issues [special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on international cooperation in the field of information security]. When in February of 2016 he spoke at the Forum on International Security, he, I quote, said: "I warn you: we are now on the threshold of the moment when we are on an equal footing with the Americans in the information space." What did he mean? Because it sounds like a threat just before the elections were cracked.
Vladimir Putin: It seems to me sometimes that you are joking.
M.Kelly: No, I'm talking seriously.
Vladimir Putin: A man said about his attitude to our contacts and work in a certain area with our foreign partners, in this case the US. Yes, I have no idea what he said. You ask him then what he had in mind. Do you really think that I control everything?
M.Kelly: But he is an adviser to the Administration on cyber questions.
Vladimir Putin: Well, we have two thousand employees of the Administration, do you really think that I control everyone? Von Peskov sits opposite, my spokesman, he sometimes brings such a "blizzard", I look on TV and I think: what does he say there? Who commissioned him?
I have no idea what he said, well, you ask him. Do you think that I should comment on everything that the officials of the Administration or the Government say, or what? I have my own job.
M.Kelly: I think that when it comes to our two countries, you know perfectly well what is going on, and now it's a Russian problem. The fact is that just before the Congress our heads of intelligence services spoke, they say that Russia is the biggest threat to US security in the world, more than the IGIL. You can not achieve the lifting of sanctions, now there is practically no relationship between our countries. Did this interference, whether you knew about him or not, did not turn out to be a blow back across Russia?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, you're exaggerating everything. I, just as I do not know that someone has said something to us, and I do not intend to comment on these statements, I do not follow what is going on in Congress there.
I am more interested in what is happening in the State Duma. Adopted the law in the near future, which is needed to solve certain problems related to health care or the housing and communal services system, or not accepted, or delayed on some issues. Or there is lobbying for some interests, and there is no next law in the sphere of nature protection, forests and environmental problems - that's what interests me. What do you have there in the Congress to discuss - you yourself watch this, I still did not have enough to do this.
M.Kelly: You know that the sanctions were not abolished. You know that the relations between our two countries are now not at a historically low level, but very close to it. And partly because of this, Russian interference in the US elections is bad.
Vladimir Putin: Listen, the sanctions are completely unrelated to some kind of mythical interference in the elections in the US by Russia. Sanctions are associated with quite another - with a desire to stop the development of Russia, to restrain Russia. This policy of containing Russia has been going on for decades, from time to time. Now again, they returned to her. This is a wrong policy, it harms not only Russian-American relations, but also American business, because it makes it possible to free the site for competitors of American business in our market.
We were with you in St. Petersburg at the Economic Forum. The largest delegation of business representatives was from the United States. People want to work with us, but they are not given, they are held back to keep Russia. That was held back-restrained, including in order to prevent the development of our defense industry, yesterday we discussed with you, - did something happen? No, it did not work, to keep Russia failed and never will. It's simple, you know, an attempt with means that ...
M.Kelly: In cyberspace, can we restrain Russia?
Vladimir Putin: I think that it is impossible to restrain Russia anywhere. It is necessary to understand this. Look, you can not hold back North Korea. What are you talking about? Why do this? Why should one restrain one another, attack, suspect in something? We offer to cooperate.
M.Kelly: Here is my question for you: why do you constantly interfere in our elections? Or why would not you do that? Let me ask the following question.
In St. Petersburg, Moscow, here in Kaliningrad, you spent almost all of our time talking about the fact that the US interferes in the electoral processes in Russia and that Russia has a powerful arsenal of funds in the cyber war. You say at the same time that you did not interfere. Do not you think this is implausible?
Vladimir Putin: I absolutely do not think this implausible, because we do not have the purpose of intervention. We do not see what purpose we can achieve if we intervene. The goal is not. Let's say we set a goal to intervene. Just like that, for the sake of the process, or what? What is the purpose?
M.Kelly: In order to sow chaos - is that the goal?
Vladimir Putin: Listen to me. President Trump recently said the right thing. He said that if Russia set a goal to sow chaos, then it achieved it. But it was not because of our intervention, but because of your political system, internal struggle, confusion and contradictions. Russia has absolutely nothing to do with it, absolutely. We have nothing to do with this. Do yourself first.
But such a statement of the question, about which I said that you have the right to intervene everywhere, because you carry around democracy, and we are not, it creates conflicts. We must treat your partners with respect, and then they will treat you with respect.
M.Kelly: You said, Mr. President, that you thought that the intervention in our elections was carried out by some patriotic Russians. And of course, people will ask the following question: are you a patriotic Russian citizen?
Vladimir Putin: I am the President of the Russian Federation. And my constitutional duties include resolving a number of issues to protect the interests of Russia. When I talked about people who are patriotic, I meant that against the backdrop of deteriorating Russian-American relations one can imagine that people, and people using cyberspace, can express their point of view, their opinion, including this one world network? Of course, they can. But can we forbid it to them? But we do not control it, and most importantly, that we do not control it. This is not the position of the Russian state, I immediately tell you about it.
M.Kelly: You can not, Russian intelligence agencies can not understand who is doing this, and you can not put an end to it when you hear about it?
Vladimir Putin: Perhaps, if we were to do this purposefully, we probably identified these people, if they exist. But we do not have such a goal.
We offer you official negotiations, you refuse. And what do you want? So that at the click of the Congress we start running here and carry out some kind of investigation? Let's sit down, sign a contract in the field of work in cyberspace and we will execute it. How do you want it? Otherwise, things are not done in international affairs.
M.Kelly: So you do not have a goal to put an end to this? And what does this mean for our elections in 18 year, in 20 year? Can we expect similar cases?
Vladimir Putin: I did not say that we have no purpose to put an end to this. I said that we have ...
M.Kelly: You just said that.
Vladimir Putin: No, I did not say that. I said that we do not interfere in the privacy of our people and can not forbid them to express their views, including on the web. But I also said that the official position of the Russian state is that we do not interfere as a state in domestic political processes in other countries. This is the most important thing. I want this to be fixed in our conversation today and that people in the US understand this.
M.Kelly: I'm sorry, I want to go deeper. Do you want and are you ready to stop your citizens who behave like this and who undermine relations between our countries?
Vladimir Putin: I want to tell you that we will obstruct everything that violates Russian law or our international obligations. For the third time or in the fourth, I already say and repeat: we are ready to sign a corresponding agreement with the United States. You refuse until now. Let's sit down at the negotiating table, choose what we consider important, sign this document and we will observe it on both sides and properly verify and verify it.
M.Kelly: I apologize, with all due respect, I still did not hear the answer: are you ready to act against the Russian citizens who committed these crimes? If I'm wrong, then please correct me. Of course, you do not negotiate on this issue with the US, but inside you can put an end to this?
Vladimir Putin: I want you to hear me. We will interfere with everything that violates the legislation in force in Russia. If the actions of our citizens, whatever they are and against whomsoever they are directed outward, violate the laws in force in Russia, we will react to it. If they do not violate Russian laws, then we can not react to it.
M.Kelly: How so?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, any. If they do not violate the laws of Russia, they have nothing to attract.
M.Kelly: Does this not violate Russian law?
Vladimir Putin: But I have to see what they did. Give us the materials. After all, no one gives anything.
M.Kelly: You know what it's about. This is the breaking of the servers of the Democratic Committee and the breaking of mailboxes, the spread of misinformation on Twitter, various disinformation about our presidential campaign, shooting in Florida. Dissemination of information that changed the course of the presidential campaign.
Vladimir Putin: With all due respect to you personally, with all due respect to the deputy corps, the Congress of the United States, and we respect all these people, I want you to finally understand. Are there people with legal education? Maybe there's. One hundred percent is. And well-educated people. They must understand and know that we in Russia can not pursue anyone unless they violate Russian law. And we can not even start an investigation if there is no reason for that.
The occasion can not be our conversation with you today and there can be no reason to investigate this fact in the US Congress. Give us at least a formal request with a statement of the facts, send us an official paper. After all, just talking on the air can not be an excuse for an investigation.
M.Kelly: The Intelligence Service, also a special prosecutor who made official accusations, is this not enough to get you engaged in this business?
Vladimir Putin: Absolutely not enough. If you do not have a legal education, I can tell you: this requires a request.
Vladimir Putin: Then you must understand that for this you need an official request to the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation. And then we do not even have an agreement with you so that we can act. But at least send the paper.
M.Kelly: Vladimir Putin can not give an order to start an investigation into whether something was done that undermines relations with Russia's largest partner, the United States of America?
Vladimir Putin: Let's give the document, give the official request. We'll look at him.
M.Kelly: They said it last year. And now there is an official charge.
Vladimir Putin: There is no document. Give the request, the document to the General Prosecutor's Office. We need to act through official channels, not through mass media and abuse in the US Congress, with accusations against us, which are not confirmed by anything. Give the document.
M.Kelly: Let me ask you a question. In 2001, you were President when the FBI arrested Robert Hanssen for spying on Russia. Fifteen spies were deported from the United States. The Kremlin did the same thing - several diplomats were expelled from Russia immediately. In December 2016, after our intelligence services came to the conclusion that in fact there was interference in our elections, two objects of diplomatic real estate were requisitioned, confiscated, and several diplomats were deported. Nevertheless, you did not react to it at that time. Why?
Vladimir Putin: We believed, and now I believe that this was not based on any reason, in the first place.
Secondly, this was done in clear contradiction with international law and with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This is a gross violation of international law, an unjustified withdrawal of our property. We really expected that there would be a reaction from the new administration. But, since this does not happen, I already said this, and the Foreign Minister repeated this, we will apply for the protection of our interests in the relevant judicial instances of the United States.
M.Kelly: Can I ask a question about President Trump?
Every time he says something about you, it is always imbued with respect. He never has a hard word for you. At the same time, when he talks about his party or about political leaders, or about his employees, he constantly insults them. Why does he treat you so kindly, do you think?
Vladimir Putin: I think he does not personally care about me. I think he is an experienced person, he is a businessman with very great experience and understands that if there is a need to establish partnership with someone, then one must treat his future or acting partner with respect, otherwise nothing will come out. I think this is a purely pragmatic approach. This is in the first place.
Secondly, even though this is the first presidential term for him, he is still a person who quickly learns, he understands perfectly well that at the level at which we are, engage in mutual claims and insults is the way to nowhere, it's just to deprive our state of the last chance of a dialogue, just the last chance. This would be extremely unfortunate.
If you noticed, I, for my part, and to him and to all my colleagues, not only in the United States, Europe, and Asia, also always treat with the same respect.
M.Kelly: Perhaps you are, but our President called the North Korean leader a small man with a missile. That is, he is not so diplomatic when talking about others. Surely you've heard about this?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I heard. You know our reaction to this. We all call for restraint.
M.Kelly: What do you think about President Trump?
Vladimir Putin: This question is not very correct, because the assessment of the work of President Trump should be given by the American people, his voter. But that's what I would note, I like it or does not like someone, we also may not like some things, but he does everything possible to fulfill the election promises that he gave to the American people. Well, he is consistent in this sense. I think that in fact this is the only correct way to confirm your respect to those people who voted for it.
M.Kelly: He praised your leadership qualities. Is he an effective leader?
Vladimir Putin: Well, I repeat, this is the American people should determine. But he has clearly expressed leadership qualities, of course, are present, because he takes responsibility for decision-making. Like these, I repeat, decisions to somebody or not, but he still does it. This, of course, is a sign of the availability of these leadership qualities.
M.Kelly: Do you ever read his tweets?
Vladimir Putin: No.
M.Kelly: Do you ever publish tweets?
Vladimir Putin: No.
M.Kelly: Почему нет?
Vladimir Putin: I have other means to express my point of view or to make some decision. Well, Donald is a more modern person.
M.Kelly: Would you say that he is brighter than you?
Vladimir Putin: Maybe.
M.Kelly: Returning to interference in the elections. There are two theories about you, at least two theories.
The first theory: when Clinton was Secretary of State, you felt that she interfered in the election process here in 2011 year, in 2012 year encouraged protests, including against you, and it pissed you off.
The second theory: when the "Panamanian documents" were published, where the money trails leading to you were published, this was the last straw for you, and it made you angry.
Vladimir Putin: Complete nonsense.
As for Hillary, we are personally acquainted with her, and in general, always, when we met, we had a good dialogue. I, in general, do not really understand why at some stage ... Apparently, her advisers advised to concentrate part of their election campaign on criticism of what is happening in our country. Well this is their choice. I never took it personally to her account. It's just such a line of behavior.
As for any dossier, it is generally complete nonsense. There someone was mentioned from among my friends, friends, so what? None of this, as you know, did not end, it's all nonsense, nonsense and just a crack in the press. I, in general, even forgot about it, I do not even remember what it was all about. And in general, nothing can annoy me in this regard. I am guided by pragmatic considerations, not emotions.
M.Kelly: Once you mentioned this, your friend was mentioned in the "Panamanian dossier". Let me ask a question about Sergei Roldugin. They say that he introduced you to your ex-wife, that he is the godfather of one of your daughters. He's a cellist, after all.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I know this man very well, this is one of my friends. He is a wonderful musician. His whole life is devoted to art, music. We have many, by the way, artists who are engaged in business in one way or another. He, besides me, has other connections in the country, including with representatives of business, who included him in this work. He legally earned some money. He did not earn any hundreds of billions. All the money that he personally earned, he allowed for the purchase of musical instruments abroad and imported them to the territory of the Russian Federation. Some of these instruments he uses himself, almost one, cello, he plays the cello.
M.Kelly: 12 million dollars.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, in my opinion, so, something like that. But this is a unique tool.
M.Kelly: Much money.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. Imagine, he is such an abnormal man, and the people of art are all a little greeted, he spent all this money on the purchase of musical instruments. I bought, in my opinion, two cellos, in my opinion, two violins, one plays himself, all the others handed out to other musicians, and they use them in their work. They are all imported to the territory of Russia.
M.Kelly: According to the "Panama dossier" and documents that are published about accounts in the offshore, it has at least 100 billion dollars of assets. He has a stake in the largest Russian media agency, he has a yacht, he has interest in a Russian bank. He's a great musician.
Vladimir Putin: You know, I'm not aware of his business, his affairs are of some kind, but you can believe me, I know for sure that he has only real income to buy these musical instruments. All the rest is some kind of paper movement, on paper, nothing else is there, except what he bought. Maybe he has something else, but you should ask him, I do not control his life.
M.Kelly: The question is: how does a cellist make that much money? People ask this question, because many people think ...
Vladimir Putin: Listen, take a lot of our representatives of art, and you probably have such. You also have representatives of art, including from Hollywood, which the restaurant contains, then bought some shares. What, in the US there are few such representatives of show business and art, or what? Yes, full, much more than we have. And we have a lot of those who are engaged in business, besides their creative activity, very much. He is one of them. So what? The question is not whether it is engaged in it or not, whether it received some profit or not. The question is whether he broke something or not. According to my information, he did not break anything.
M.Kelly: That is, there are no questions in order to make money, I am from America, we are capitalists. But the question is: are your money really that you earned?
Vladimir Putin: It's definitely not my money. I did not even consider how many of them Mr. Roldugin had, as I said. But, according to my information, he never violated anything in his creative and business activities, not one Russian law, not one legal norm.
M.Kelly: Speaking of money. In 80-ies, in the 90-ies on the wave of bankruptcies it was difficult to get loans in the US, so Trump needed to be contacted elsewhere. The eldest son of Trump said that Russia has a disproportionate concentration of our assets, we are injecting big money in Russia. Do you know that the big money associated with Russia was owned by Trump?
Vladimir Putin: Bullshit is everything. There were no infusions on Trump's property in Russia, as far as I know. I do not even know if such plans were serious.
Vladimir Putin: Look, it all seems to you that the whole world is spinning around you. This is not true.
M.Kelly: It's not about me, it's about what Donald Trump's son said.
Vladimir Putin: But you think that we all know what Donald Trump's son said, that's not it, you understand? Donald came here to Russia, when he was not even a candidate. I did not even know he was coming. That is, in hindsight, I found out about this, I was told that he, it turns out, was in Russia. What his son said about this, I also have no idea. Look, I do not know what he said. Has he broken anything or not, Donald Trump's son? If he has violated something, make a claim against him. And if he did not violate anything, do you cling to every word?
M.Kelly: A year before Donald Trump wanted to become president, he said that he knew you, he talked a lot with you. It's true?
Vladimir Putin: No. I have never met him.
Before his presidency, before he put forward his candidacy?
M.Kelly: Yes, before he put forward his candidacy.
Vladimir Putin: No, we did not know him. We never even talked to him - not on the phone, not at all.
M.Kelly: You very soon will most likely be elected to the fourth term of the Russian presidency, right?
Vladimir Putin: We will see. As the Russian voter decides.
M.Kelly: How does someone like Vladimir Putin, who is so popular in Russia, like you, feel any threat from Navalny? I understand that he was in serious trouble. But could you become partners with him and let him become a challenge for you?
Vladimir Putin: The question of who I could cooperate with, with whom I did not want to cooperate - I can tell you absolutely frankly: I would like to cooperate with those people, and I am ready to do this, which seeks to make Russia stronger, more effective, has become a competitive country, self-sufficient. But for this, the people we are talking about should have a clear, precise program of actions aimed at the development of the country in modern conditions. There are such people, including ...
M.Kelly: Could he also pardon him to become a worthy opponent? Bulk is just such a person, he is quite popular here in Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Any person can be pardoned if he deserves it.
M.Kelly: Why did not you do it?
Vladimir Putin: If he deserves it. There are no exceptions for anyone, there are no exceptions for anyone. But now we are not talking about pardon, we are now talking about certain political forces. They do not have a development program for the country. Do they have something positive and what do I really like? This is what they reveal problems, and it's good actually, it's right, and it needs to be done. But for the positive development of the country this is not enough, not enough. Because only to focus on problems, it's not just a little, and it's even dangerous, because it can lead to certain destruction, and we need creation.
M.Kelly: Our political analysts talk about your chances: if you do not have any significant opponent, then most likely you will win the election. And what next, what will happen after that? The Chinese Chairman has just canceled the restriction on presidential terms. Is this what you would do too?
Vladimir Putin: I do not think that now, at this meeting with you, in this conversation, in an interview with American television, I must talk about my political plans. But yesterday, in my opinion, I told you and said that I never changed the Constitution, I did not do it all the more under myself, and I do not have such plans for today.
As for China, before criticizing any decisions in a country such as China, one must think and remember that there live one and a half billion people, and after thinking about it, we need to come to the conclusion that we are all interested , so that China is a stable and prosperous state. And as it is better to do, it is probably more visible to the Chinese people and the Chinese leadership.
M.Kelly: Can you get out of power? Because many experts say that it would practically be impossible for you, because in your status you are most likely to be in prison as a result of the actions of your opponents, or something much more terrible will happen. That is, you need to keep your legal capacity and to be in order, to remain in power.
Vladimir Putin: Your so-called experts give wishful thinking. I've heard a lot of nonsense about this. Why do you think that necessarily after me to power in Russia should come people who are ready to destroy everything that I have done in recent years? Maybe, on the contrary, they will be people who want to strengthen Russia, create a future for it, create a platform for development for the next generations. Why did you suddenly decide that destroyers would come that would destroy everything and destroy everything? Maybe someone would like this, including in the United States. But I do not think that they are right, because the United States, I think, is just interested in the other - that Russia should be a stable, prosperous and developing country, if you have the opportunity, of course, to look at least 25 -50 years in advance.
M.Kelly: Have you looked after any follower? Do you have someone already on your mind?
Vladimir Putin: I have been thinking about this since 2000. Thinking is not harmful, but in the end, the choice will still be for the Russian people. Anyway, I sympathize with someone or, conversely, someone does not like me, the candidates will come to the polls, and eventually the final decision will be taken by the citizens of the Russian Federation.
M.Kelly: Let me ask you a question about Syria. Do you think the attack using chemical weapons in Syria is false news, misinformation?
Vladimir Putin: Конечно.
First, the government of Syria has long destroyed chemical weapons.
Secondly, we know about the plans of militants to stage the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.
And thirdly, these are all the attempts that have repeatedly occurred in the near past, these accusations, the use of this as a pretext for consolidating efforts in the struggle against Assad. We are all well aware of this, understandable and even uninteresting. And I want to say: bored, girls.
M.Kelly: The bodies of children who died from sarin, - Do you want to say "boring" about this?
Vladimir Putin: Are you sure that these bodies are the result of the activity of government troops? On the contrary, I believe that this is the result of the activities of criminals, criminal elements and radical elements - terrorists who commit these crimes, in order to accuse President Assad of this.
M.Kelly: And the UN has come to different conclusions. They conducted an autopsy of the bodies of the dead children, and your Minister of Foreign Affairs says that all this was invented. Do you also think that all this was invented?
Vladimir Putin: Of course. Absolutely sure of this even. After all, there was no serious investigation.
M.Kelly: And there were no dead bodies?
Vladimir Putin: Maybe dead bodies were what happens in the war. You look, as Mosul took - they razed everything to the ground there. And look how they took Rakku - so far, the bodies have not yet been taken out of the ruins and buried. You do not want to remember about this?
M.Kelly: We call this an attempt to get away from the answer, pointing out the mistakes of others, in order to justify themselves or their ally. We are talking about the fact that sarin was used against children, they were killed. You tell the international community that this did not happen.
Vladimir Putin: Listen, in order to be sure of this, you need to conduct a thorough investigation with a visit to the site, with the collection of evidence. Nothing was done. Let's do.
M.Kelly: Let's do. They wanted to conduct an investigation, they wanted to study helicopters, they also wanted to send their inspectors on these helicopters that were there, but Russia said "no." Why did Russia say no?
Vladimir Putin: There was nothing like this, Russia did not say "no". Russia stands for a full investigation. If you do not know this, please, hear it from me. This is not true, we have never been against an objective investigation. It's a lie. This deception is the same as the shaking of a test tube with alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was pushed by the CIA to its Minister of Foreign Affairs and who later apologized for it, but the country has already been destroyed. This is the same fake, the same stuffing, which has no serious reason. In order for these grounds to be serious, we need to conduct an investigation. We are for this investigation.
M.Kelly: Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least four attacks using chemical weapons based on chlorine. US Secretary Tillerson has just stated that this is Russia's responsibility, because in Iran they promised that you would put an end to and prevent such chemical attacks in Syria. What will you answer to this?
Vladimir Putin: I will say that we do not have this: a) no relation; and we demand a full investigation.
And as for the crimes, go back to Rakka, please, and bury at least the bodies that are still in ruins and ruins after the application of the corresponding massive strikes on residential areas. And investigate this matter, then there will be something to do.
M.Kelly: One of the questions that our viewers will have: how will we find our way back? How will we return to the fact that these two great nations were less hostile to each other, so that they were more allies? Do you agree that now it is not so that we are not allies?
Vladimir Putin: Unfortunately no. But we did not write you into enemies. You made a decision at the level of the parliament, at the level of Congress, recorded Russia as one of the enemies. Why did you do this? Have we imposed sanctions on the United States? This is the United States imposed sanctions on us.
M.Kelly: You know why?
Vladimir Putin: No I dont know. I can then ask you another question: why did you contribute to a coup d'état in Ukraine? Well, why did you do this? You directly, publicly admitted that you spent billions of dollars on it. Publicly, your officials have said so. Why support gosperevoroty, armed struggle in the territory of other countries? Why did you put missile systems along our borders?
Listen, let's sit quietly and talk and understand. It seems to me that the incumbent President wants this, but certain forces do not allow him to do this. But we are ready for this on any issue: on missile issues, on cyberspace, and on combating terrorism. At any second. But it is necessary that the American side be ready. But someday the public opinion of the United States will, probably, push the political elite to the beginning of this process. As soon as our partners are ready - at the same time, please.
M.Kelly: Before we finish our interview: what legacy do you hope to leave behind?
Vladimir Putin: I'm just confident that Russia will gain additional powerful dynamics of development, will be stable, with a balanced democracy, with good prospects for using the latest achievements of the technological revolution. We will continue to work on improving our political system, the judiciary. And all this together, I am sure, will strengthen both the unity of the Russian Federation and the unity of our people, and will create prospects for a confident movement forward for a long historical perspective.
M.Kelly: Mr. President, thank you very much for this interview.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.