Russia’s Putin warns West not to meddle

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin said Russia is concerned about the “growing threat” of an attack on Iran over its nuclear programme and warned that the consequences would be “truly catastrophic”.

Vladimir Putin

In an article on foreign policy written before a March 4 presidential election he is almost certain to win, Russia’s prime minister also warned Western and Arab nations against military intervention in Syria and accused Washington of meddling in the politics of Russia and its neighbours.

“I very much hope the United States and other countries … do not try to set a military scenario in motion in Syria without sanction from the UN Security Council,” Putin said in the article published today in the newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti.

Putin made clear Russia, which along with China blocked a UN Security Council resolution aimed at ending a government crackdown on opponents in Syria, would use such levers to block US action when it sees fit.

NATO nations should not form coalitions to launch military intervention when they lack Security Council support, he added.

“Nobody has the right to take for himself the prerogatives and authorities of the United Nations, especially when it comes to using force in relation to sovereign states,” Putin said.

Part of a series he has published almost weekly in the two months ahead of the election, the legthy article included criticism of the United States familiar from his campaign.

Putin, in power for 12 years, said relations were marred by “regular U.S. attempts to conduct ‘political engineering’, including in regions that are traditionally important to us, and in election campaigns in Russia.”

Putin suggested NATO had a “itch” for war and that the United States was trying to guarantee its security at the expense of others.

“A series of armed conflicts justified by humanitarian aims is undermining the principle, hallowed by the centuries, of state sovereignty,” Putin said, suggesting the United States and NATO were creating a “moral and legal vacuum“ in world affairs.

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