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We Want Dialogue With The West But On Equal Terms, Says Putin At Presidential Inauguration


Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he did not rule out dialogue with the West, but he emphasised that it had to be on equal terms. Putin made these remarks in a short speech at his inauguration for his fifth term as president on Tuesday.

In his speech, he said that Russia was open to developing relations with countries that he described as the “world’s majority” but he added that his state system needed to be resistant to threats and challenges.

There has been no reaction from any Western nation so far. The US, along with most European nations, have boycotted the inauguration, but it was reported that France, Hungary, and Slovakia are believed to have authorised their ambassadors in Russia to attend. The West has so far agreed on a peace summit for Ukraine on June 15-16 in Geneva but has said that Russia will not be allowed to take part.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow did not see the conference as a credible initiative towards peace. “What kind of conference can we talk about, with serious expectations of some kind of results, without the participation of Russia?” he said.

Putin’s inauguration has been criticised by the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s widow. Yulia Navalnaya. Navalnaya, who is currently in exile, has been broadcasting messages against the Russian leader through social media and interviews with Western publications.

Reacting to Putin’s inauguration in a YouTube video address, she said. “Our country is currently being led by a liar, a thief and a murderer, but this will definitely come to an end. Don’t give up, truth will prevail.”

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Based outside Russia, Navalnaya has vowed to continue the work of her late husband Alexei Navalny, who died in an Arctic penal colony on Feb. 16. She has accused Putin of having him killed, an accusation the Kremlin denies.

Navalnaya said Putin’s war in Ukraine and his jailing of political opponents had made a mockery of his promises at past inaugurations to deliver peace and prosperity to Russia and protect the rights and freedoms of its people.

“Huge sums of money are stolen from all of us every day to fund bombings of peaceful cities, riot police beating people with batons, propagandists spreading lies. And also for (the elite’s) own palaces, yachts and private jets,” she said.

“And as long as this continues, we can’t stop the fight.”

(With inputs from Reuters)