Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the Financial Times in Moscow on Thursday evening on the eve of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
«It is difficult to expect breakthrough or fateful solutions in the current situation. We are hardly able to count on it today, but there is a hope that during these public and bilateral talks we can smooth over the differences we have and... Еще create the basis for positive progress.» Putin remarked about the upcoming G20 summit.
One of the most high-profile moments at this year's forum will be Putin's meeting with US President Donald Trump, who is still seen as somewhat of an unknown quantity by the Kremlin. «I want to understand his motivation,» he told FT journalists Lionel Barber and Henry Foy.
The Russian president also picked up on a shift away from the liberal consensus towards national populism, fuelled by issues like immigration, multiculturalism and secular values at the expense of religion. «The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,» he said.
Turning towards Russia's relations with the UK, Putin dismissed claims that his secret services were behind the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. «Traitors should have been punished. I do not say it is necessary to punish the way it has been done in Sailsbury. Not at all. But traitors should have been punished. Mr Skripal had been punished anyway. He was arrested, sentenced and released. He had been punished already,» Putin said.
Responding to a question about the future direction of the Russian Federation, Putin said he had been contemplating his succession since 2000 but that the the decision should ultimately be left with the Russian people.
The Russian leader also touched upon the topic of international security, global threats and North Korea: «After the tragic events in Libya and Iraq, many countries have a desire for security at any cost. We should not discuss how can we persuade North Korea to disarm, we need to think about how we can ensure the absolute security of North Korea,» Putin pointed out.
Leaders of 19 of the most influential countries in the world and the European Union will meet in Osaka on Friday and Saturday for the 14th G20 summit to discuss climate change, free trade, and economic inequalities among other issues.