Russia ready to protect itself in unpredictable world: Putin

Moscow: Russia is ready to protect itself in a world that is getting more unstable and unpredictable, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. "Profound changes occur in all areas of international relations; competition for both influence and resources is growing," Xinhua news agency quoted Putin as saying. "(Russia) will always be able to reliably protect itself and to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and its citizens," he told Russian diplomats at a meeting. Warning that potential for conflicts is multiplying and engulfing new regions worldwide, Putin said that "(terrorist) actions are far beyond one region and it is difficult to predict where new major attacks can be expected". He said the global community needs an equitable order built on the principles of "common and indivisible security and collective responsibility", through dialogues and cooperation. As the world is becoming more inter-dependent, cooperation, common willingness and readiness to reach compromises should become a key to settling complex international problems, Putin said. Russia is pursuing an effective and independent foreign policy, with the aim of building open and honest interaction with all nations "in the West and the East, in the South and the North", the Russian President said. Nevertheless, he stressed that Russia would not yield to external pressure, either military or economic, but would stick to setting up mutually beneficial and constructive relations in various fields. The country would continue seeking solutions to international problems like the Ukraine crisis, while strengthening strategic partnership with Eurasian countries. Specifically, Putin said that the linking of the Belt and Road Initiative brought up by China with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is the first step to form a large Eurasian partnership. It is also possible for a "common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean" to be formed together with the European Union, he added. The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt that links China with Europe through Central and Western Asia by inland routes, and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road connecting China with other Asian countries, Africa and Europe by sea routes. The EAEU is a customs union that groups Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan with a total population of 170 million.