Putin demands ‘equality’ in Independence Day message to Obama

Putin demands ‘equality’ in Independence Day message to Obama

The telegram underlined a message Putin has made central to his third term as president – that Russia, like the United States a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, must be treated as a world power and on an equal footing two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The Kremlin statement made no reference to sanctions imposed on Moscow by Washington after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March, or to other differences between the two former Cold War enemies.

But the call for “pragmatism and equality” in relations suggested Putin put the onus on Obama to improve ties.

The language was less upbeat than in last year’s Independence Day telegram, in which Putin expressed “certainty” that Moscow and Washington would be able to work out solutions to various issues “regardless of the fact that not all approaches of the sides concur”.

The telegram sent on July 4, 2012, at the height of the Syria conflict but long before the Ukraine crisis, was also more positive, referring to an improvement in preceding years and presenting an optimistic outlook for the future.

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