Russia Warns West Not To Intervene In Afghanistan


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – Russian President Vladimir has warned the West not to interfere in Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul, amid signs that and Russia are increasing their footprint there. The authoritarian leader said Western nations “must stop the irresponsible policy of imposing foreign values from abroad.”

He made the remarks after what was likely his last summit with German Chancellor , who will step down later this year.

In extended remarks, Putin said he hoped the would “guarantee the security of locals and foreign diplomats” and that the country would not break apart after the withdrawal of US-led forces.

“You can’t call it a success,” Putin added when asked about the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan, which was launched in 2001 after the terrorist attacks in New York and D.C. “But it’s not in our interests right now to stand on this point and talk about this as a failure. We were interested in the situation in the country being stable.”

While most nations close their diplomatic missions, China and Russia have kept their embassies open. Though the Taliban is officially designated a terrorist group in Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there had been some “encouraging signs from the Taliban.”

And after the Taliban reportedly promised that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militants to attack China, Beijing made clear it would provide economic support and investment in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. Russia and China are also expected to cooperate in Afghanistan and the region.

DISSIDENT JAILED

Besides Afghanistan, Putin and Merkel used their meeting in Moscow to speak about their differences over the Kremlin’s perceived crackdown on dissent. Merkel urged Russia to release the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in prison on a conviction that the West believes is political. Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok agent in a failed attempt on his life one year ago on Friday.

After returning from Germany in January, the Russian dissident was sentenced to up to 3 1/2 years in a penal colony. The sentencing came after a Moscow court found him guilty of disobeying the terms of his probation over the 2014 money laundering case.

Chancellor Merkel told reporters that she condemned the sentence during her talks with President Putin. “We, of course, also spoke about the distressing situation of Alexei Navalny. From our perspective, the sentencing to a penal colony based on an earlier verdict that the European Court of Human Rights has classified as manifestly disproportionate is unacceptable for us,” she stressed. “And I have demanded once again from the president to release Navalny, and I have made it clear that we will remain on the case,” Merkel explained.

However, President Putin rebuffed Chancellor Merkel’s remarks while referring to Navalny as a subject or a person. “As to the person that you have mentioned, he was not sentenced for his political activities, but his criminal activities against foreign partners,” Putin explained, a reference to the embezzlement case.

However, he added: “As far as political activities are concerned, no-one should hide behind political activities to carry out business projects while breaking the law.”

NEW

Britain and the imposed new sanctions, including those allegedly related to the poisoning, a year ago, which was remembered in several newspapers.

The sanctions will affect suspects who have overseas assets, which authorities will freeze. The British document mentioned seven alleged members of Russia’s FSB security service accused of participating in the nerve agent attack.

Merkel and Putin also spoke about the war in Ukraine’s troubled Donbass region, where Russia has complained about a stalled peace process between the government in Kyiv and the separatist movement it supports in the country’s east. Shortly after the two leaders met, Russia declared TV Rain and several other prominent independent media to be “foreign agents” in the latest salvoes of a broad crackdown on press freedom in the country, news reports said.

Despite the tensions between the two leaders, the summit began with a convivial air, as Putin delivered Merkel a bouquet in the Kremlin during what the German leader called “my farewell meeting … but also a working one”. Putin called Germany “one of the main partners for us and in the world, in part because of your efforts over the past 16 years,” as he cast Merkel a smile before the talks began.

While they have strong political differences, the two managed to keep trade going. U.S. President Joe Biden halted the massive Keystone XL and gas pipeline that would have carried millions of gallons of oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S. but Russia and Germany continued with their pipeline. The near-complete 1,230 kilometers (764 miles) Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea will double Russian gas exports to Germany. Ukraine says the Nord Stream 2 pipeline threatens its security and stands to lose about $3 billion a year in gas transit fees.

“Some would argue that over 16 years of Merkel’s leadership, it would have been difficult not to have fostered some type of working relationship,” commented Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “The two are able to speak one another’s languages fluently. And their exchanges over the years have become talking points.”

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