Attending the meeting were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, 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: I suggest beginning our meeting today with its agenda. Today we will be talking about protecting our interests and the security of the Russian financial system with regard to the national digital currencies, which the leading world powers are creating. These are serious matters which need to be given close professional attention.
But before we begin, I would like to ask our colleagues to speak about the situation in the Middle East, namely, about the aggravation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is taking place in close proximity to our borders and directly concerns our security interests. Also, I would like you to comment on the current developments in a neighbouring state, Ukraine. It appears, and this is highly regrettable, that Ukraine is being turned, slowly but steadily, into an antipode of Russia, an anti-Russia, a territory from which, judging by all appearances, we will never stop receiving news that need to be given special attention in terms of protecting the national security of the Russian Federation.
As you are well aware, they are purging their political environment. They are banning national media outlets, and our Western partners have not batted an eyelid, or have even supported these decisions. Some people have been accused, selectively and for political reasons, of maintaining economic ties with Russia, even though many others, including some members of the country’s top political establishment, have been cooperating with Russia, including Crimea, for years, and this is regarded as normal. In other words, these clearly politically-laden and selective decisions have one goal: to cleanse the political environment of the forces that call for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in southeastern Ukraine, Donbass, and for good-neighbourly relations with Russia.
This is definitely an issue we must never lose sight of, an issue to which we must respond promptly and with due regard for the threats that are being created for us.
As I have already mentioned, members of the opposition are being accused of cooperation with Russia, including in the economy, while members of the authorities have been doing the same for years. Our trade last year amounted to $9.9 billion. I cannot imagine that, if such matters are dealt with objectively, everyone who works with Russia will be charged with criminal offences in Ukraine.
Let us begin with these two issues, and after that we will take up the main issue on our agenda today.