Putin’s Speech To The UN: Covid Vaccine, Green Corridors, Reducing Trade Restrictions, International Law

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Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Russian President Vladimir Putin presented his speech via video conference to the UN general assembly yesterday, offering initiatives for the Covid-19 vaccine, suggesting the opening of ‘green’ trade corridors, praising the UN and calling for adherence to international laws.

Russia On Covid-19

Russia is ready to provide UN staff with a free vaccine against COVID-19, President Putin said at the 75th session of the General Assembly. He also offered to hold a virtual conference in the near future with the participation of states interested in cooperating to create drugs to fight coronavirus. Putin said that Russia did not look for those responsible for the coronavirus crisis and other world problems, but offered unity to counter threats.

Establishing Green Corridors

The Russian head of state also reiterated the need to introduce the so-called green corridors, free from trade wars and sanctions. According to him, unchaining world trade from barriers, prohibitions, restrictions, and illegitimate sanctions could help restore global growth and reduce unemployment. At the same time, Russia intends to closely cooperate with other states and international structures in the fight against Covid-19, Putin noted.

While many anti-Russia hawks will call this a clumsy attempt to reduce pressure on the Russian economy, the reality is that the world is literally bound by sanctions corridors on a scale never seen before. The United States has used these to deny the export of medicines and Covid-19 assistance to countries on its sanctions list. The following graphic illustrates the reach of these, which Russia wants lifting in times of global need.

Ban Weapons In Space

Putin added that Russia also proposed striking a legally binding agreement that would ban weapons in space, as well as the use of force or the threat of force against space objects.

The UN and other International Organisations

Putin commented in support of the UN, WTO and WHO that“In the current difficult conditions, it is important for all countries to show political will, wisdom and foresight. And of course, the leading role here belongs to the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the powers that have for 75 years now bear a special responsibility for international peace and security, for preserving the foundations of international law.”

He followed this with commenting:“In an interconnected, interdependent world, in the whirlpool of international events, it is necessary to act together and rely on the principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter. Only in this way will we be able to fulfill the high mission of our Organization and ensure a dignified life for present and future generations.” 

Like Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech, which we commented on here the Russian President noted the value of the established global structures and called for them to be reinforced, not taken apart. In this area both Russia and China are at odds with the United States, which has left the WHO, declined to participate in the global anti-Covid pandemic ‘Covax’ programme, and threatened to leave the WTO.

Putin also pushed the ‘Green Corridor’ concept again, in which sanctions would be suspended during times of global problems  to alleviate supply chain problems for essential products.

The Russia-China axis appears to be coordinated, and to be both humanitarian and considered when compared to the current US position. It is a strange world that is evolving when the residents of Russia and China appear to offer rather more reasonable options and suggestions than those currently heard from the United States.

President Putin’s speech can be viewed in full via Google translate here

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