Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chair of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
We have an issue on our agenda that is not connected with the current events. But first of all, I would like to ask our colleagues attending this meeting if they need to exchange any information on the current events.
Mr Shoigu, please.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President,
We are proceeding as planned, as we have been reporting to you every day this week.
I would like to suggest three issues for discussion and to ask for your approval.
Vladimir Putin: Go ahead, please.
Sergei Shoigu: We are receiving a huge number of requests from all manner of volunteers from different countries, who would like to come to the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics to take part in the liberation movement, as they say. The largest number of requests, over 16,000, has come from the Middle East. We believe that we should grant these requests, especially since the matter does not concern money but a genuine desire of these people. We know many of them; they helped us fight ISIS in the most difficult period, during the past 10 years. This is the first point.
The second, Mr President. In light of the uncontrollable arms deliveries to Ukraine from all parties (it appears that nobody is looking where and how much of these weapons are being delivered and who they are being issued to), as we have pointed out many times, we suggest turning the air defence systems, for example, man-portable SAMs, and anti-tank missile systems over to the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics to build up the combat ability of their militia. In addition, we have seized a large number of Ukrainian weapons, such as tanks, armoured vehicles, all types of small arms, and artillery systems. There are also many Javelins and Stingers. We suggest transferring them to the Lugansk and Donetsk militias as well, so that they can defend their republics more effectively.
Finally, the third and more serious issue, Mr President, and I am asking for your approval. The General Staff has analysed all the measures taken by the West to beef up their forces near Russia’s western borders. New units are arriving every day, and they are deploying them at a time when absolutely nothing threatens them. Nevertheless, we believe that they want to take advantage of this situation and to saturate the area along the border with forces and resources to the maximum extent, and they will undoubtedly want to preserve this situation for a long time.
Consequently, the General Staff is drafting and has nearly completed a plan for reinforcing Russia’s western borders, including, naturally, with those new modern systems and the deployment of military units to defend our western borders.
We are waiting for your instruction, so that we can report on our proposals at the next Security Council meeting or in any other format, for their subsequent approval.
Vladimir Putin: All right, thank you very much.
Regarding the mobilisation of mercenaries from all over the world and sending them to Ukraine. We can see that Ukraine’s Western sponsors and the Ukrainian regime are not concealing this fact. They are doing this openly and neglecting norms of international law. So, if you see that some volunteers would like to come and help the people in Donbass, especially without pay, then we should meet them halfway and help them relocate to the war zone. This is the first thing.
The second, regarding weapons deliveries, especially those of Western weapons that have been seized by the Russian Army. I, of course, support the decision to hand them over to the military units in the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics. Please do this. I am ready to issue any resolution that may be necessary at my end.
The third matter deals with the reinforcement of the Russian Federation’s western borders in view of the NATO countries’ actions in this area and in response to what they are doing. This calls for a separate discussion. I would like to ask you to prepare a report on the issue separately. We will make the decision following its discussion in the near future.
Let us proceed to the current item on the agenda.