October 19, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin at News conference in Beijing during Belt-and-Road summit (excerpt): ‘we can fend off Ukraines use of American ATACM missiles’

Pavel Zarubin: Good evening.

Pavel Zarubin. Rossiya television channel.

The President of Ukraine basically boasted that Kiev has not only received but has started to use the long-range ATACMS missiles from the United States. Washington has also confirmed that it did covertly supply the Kiev regime with these missiles.

Vladimir Putin: What do you mean by “covertly confirmed”?

Pavel Zarubin: I mean that it supplied these missiles in secret.

As far as we understand, these missiles can significantly expand the range of the possible strikes, including by reaching deep into Russian territory. How significant a change will this be? How will Russia respond?

Vladimir Putin: First, this is of course a harmful development and creates an additional threat.

Second, we can fend off these attacks, make no mistake about that. War is war, and I did say that they pose a threat. This is rather obvious. What matters the most here is that this cannot bring about any radical changes along the line of contact. It is impossible. This we can say for sure.

And, finally, the next point: this is yet another mistake on the part of the United States – for several reasons. 

First, if they did not supply weapons, they would be able to say in the future: “Had we supplied everything we could, the situation would have changed, but this would have led to more unnecessary casualties. Good for us – we did not do that.” But they did, and there will be no effect. This is a mistake for this reason alone. 

And, finally, Ukraine, in this sense, gains nothing either. This simply prolongs its agony. They have started yet another announced and expected counteroffensive in the Kherson sector – without any effect so far. Losses there are, but no result, like previously in Zaporozhye and other sectors. Therefore, this is also a mistake from this point of view. 

And, finally, a larger and highly significant, if so far imperceptible mistake is that the United States is becoming more directly involved in this conflict. It is becoming involved – this is an obvious thing. And let no one say that it has nothing to do with this. We believe it has. Plus, all of this is happening against the background of the Middle East conflict and exacerbating tensions. 

They have upped and dragged two carrier task forces to the Mediterranean. I want to say – what I am going to say and inform you about is not a threat – that I have instructed the Russian Aerospace Forces to start patrolling the neutral zone over the Black Sea on the permanent basis. Our MiG-31 aircraft carry the Kinzhal systems that, as is common knowledge, have a range of over 1,000 kilometres and can reach speeds of up to Mach 9. …

The last question, please.

Murad Gazdiev: The US President said Russia has already lost the war.

Vladimir Putin: Excellent.

Murad Gazdiev: He says the US is now aiming to unite all of Europe against Russia.

Vladimir Putin: Great.

Murad Gazdiev: How should this statement be assessed?

Vladimir Putin: If Russia has lost the war, why are they sending the ATACMS in? Why doesn’t [the US] take back the ATACMS and all its other weapons [and why doesn’t President Biden] come eat some pancakes and drink some tea with us? If the war is lost, what are we talking about? What are the ATACMS for? Ask them this question. Hilarious.

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