During the annual Valdai Club meeting in Sochi on October 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a question about international tensions -- specifically, about whether his meeting with the U.S. President Donald Trump exacerbated tensions between the two nations rather than fixed them.
Putin responded with a joke and claimed Russia’s foreign policy was flawless. “We don’t create tensions for anybody; we do not create any problems,” he said.
Polygraph.info asked diplomats, academics and other experts to respond to Putin’s claim.
“It is a blatant lie. The Kremlin loves destabilization,” said Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former Swedish diplomat who served as an economic advisor to Russia and Ukraine in the 1990s
Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine said “Russian actions just during the past five years have created major tensions in East-West relations.”
He listed Russian actions that have heightened international tensions:
- Seizure and illegal annexation of Crimea; support -- including with units of the Russian army -- for the continuing conflict in Donbas;
- Violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing and deploying a prohibited land-based cruise missile of intermediate range;
- Large military exercises (some with no notice);
- Aggressive buzzing of NATO ships and aircraft;
- Attempted assassination of Sergey Skripal;
- Interference in U.S. and other Western elections.
Pifer added that the West also bears responsibility, but the main blame falls on Russia’s own actions.
“This is not to say that the West is blameless for the deterioration in West-Russia relations, but Moscow's actions bear significant responsibility,” he said.
Stephen Blank, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council said in response to Putin’s claim: “Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, UK, the U.S. election interference and the hacking of the World Anti-Doping agency WADA – all show that he is, as usual lying.”
Edward Lucas, a British journalist and author, said Russia has been “causing problems for its neighbors since 1991.”