Russian President Vladimir Putin says Western countries’ “flawed” foreign policy is to blame for Europe’s immigration crisis.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok on Friday, Putin said Russia has frequently warned of major problems for Europe as a result of the West’s wrong policies as well as the spread of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa.
“We in Russia … a few years ago said it straight that pervasive problems would emerge if our so-called Western partners continue maintaining their flawed … foreign policy, especially in the regions of the Muslim world, Middle East, [and] North Africa, which they pursue to date,” Putin said.
He added that the current refugee crisis in the EU doesn’t come as a surprise, saying it was “absolutely expected.”
Putin said that the main flaw of the West’s foreign policy is the imposition of their own standards worldwide without taking into account the historical, religious, national and cultural characteristics of regions.
The Russian president’s remarks come as Europe is facing an unprecedented immigration and refugee crisis, which has escalated over summer. Refugees are coming directly to Europe instead of staying in camps in neighboring countries.
The continent is now divided over how to deal with a flood of people, mainly Syrians fleeing war in their homeland.
The European Union (EU) is to convene a special meeting in two weeks to discuss a record surge in numbers and the opening up of new routes over the Balkans in addition to the Mediterranean Sea route.
International campaign against terrorism
The Russian president said the only way to tackle the refugee flow into Europe is to uproot terrorism while maintaining terror-hit countries’ sovereignty and dismissed any unilateral act in that regard.
“If we act unilaterally and argue about the quasi-democratic principles and procedures for certain areas, that will lead us to an even greater impasse,” Putin concluded.
Putin called for creating an international “united front” to fight against extremist and terrorist groups, including Daesh.
“We really want to form some kind of an international coalition, therefore we conduct consultations with our US partners,” Putin said, noting that he has spoken about the issue with his American counterpart Barack Obama.
He, however, said that it is still premature to discuss Russia’s “direct” involvement in the military offensive against Daesh, let alone Moscow joining the US-led coalition, adding that Russia is currently considering “other options” in fighting terror.
Since August 2014, Washington and some of its Western and regional allies have been launching air strikes allegedly against Daesh positions in Iraq. Some partners in the US-led coalition have also been hitting purported Daesh positions inside Syria since last September without any authorization from the Arab country or a UN mandate.