If a fight is inevitable, we need to hit first: Putin

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Vladimir Putin: “50 years ago the leningrad street taught me one rule: if a fight is inevitable, we need to hit the first”

News Desk The Pashtun Times: Last month the Russian president after meeting the US president at UN Security Council urged for an international coalition to fight the Islamist militancy in the Middle East. Two days after the meeting Russia announced through a Russian general in Baghdad that it would strike ISIS in Syria.

Mr Putin, while addressing the annual Valdai Club conference on Thursday, amidst his criticism on the US Middle East policy, once again reiterated the need for an international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

While explaining his resolve against the ISIS, Putin said he had learnt 50 years ago in the streets of his hometown Leningrad that when a fight is inevitable, you have to hit first.

Mr. Putin unmistakably sees the Russian national interests in the Russian military campaign against the ISIS in Syria. This includes preventing ISIS from spreading into Russian border, defending its naval base at Tartus, and protecting from falling yet another authoritarian regime in Middle East, which Russia considers would go in the favor of Islamist militancy in the region.

The US has so far accused Russia of striking the US-backed moderate factions in the campaign against ISIS rather than the ISIS itself.

Vitaly Naumkin, a Russian expert on Middle East, however, has argued that it is vitally important for Russia to eliminate the smaller Islamist factions before effectively taking on the ISIS in the Middle East.

But Mr Putin has hinted in the Valdai conference that Russia is prepared to negotiate with the moderate opposition in Syria provided that they were genuinely prepared to fight against ISIS.

Mr Putin also added in the conference that Moscow is prepared to exchange information on the Islamist militants in Syria with its Western colleagues. This could be considered a bg step forward in Russian willingness to cooperate with the West in the Middle East.

While it seems that Russia is prepared to cooperate with the West in the fight against ISIS in Syria, yet Valdai conference also makes it clear that in the new world order Russia no more sees for itself a place in the Western orbit.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITH THE PASHTUN TIMES

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