Putin says Russia to pursue 'balanced' foreign policy
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, expected to reclaim the presidency in March elections, said on primetime television Monday that Russia would pursue a "balanced" foreign policy.
"In the past, today and in the future we have conducted and will conduct a balanced policy aimed at creating favourable conditions for the country's development," Putin said after announcing last month his plan to seek a third mandate as president.
"And this means that we want to have good neighbourly, friendly ties with all our partners."
Putin spoke after many analysts in the West warned that Putin's planned Kremlin comeback could deal a blow to the US-Russian "reset" in ties and usher in frostier relations with the West.
Replying to a request from his interviewers to commment on Western attempts to brand him a "hawk," Putin said:
"First off, a hawk is a good little bird. I am a person anyway. But I am against any cliches."
"Naturally, we've protected and will protect in the most active manner our national interests but we've always done this in a civilised way and will continue to do so in the future."
© 2011 AFP