Putin sees acting Spanish FM's criticism of Russia as inappropriate
STRELNA. St. Petersburg. June 6 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believes acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who earlier made critical remarks about Russia, wants to look like an important political figure and suggested that he should do something useful and work to improve Spanish-Russian ties.
"Perhaps he is no longer a foreign minister but a major political figure of our time - at least he apparently wants to seem such," Putin said at a meeting with managers of major international news agencies, when asked by EFE President Fernando Garea to comment on the incident in which the Spanish ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Let your foreign minister do his job and think better how to build relations for the good of our countries and peoples," Putin said.
Moscow and Madrid have a lot of common interests, and Russia loves Spain and wishes it prosperity, he said.
"I have very good relations with both the former and the reigning king," Putin said.
He suggested that Borrell must have served as Spanish foreign minister not very long yet.
"Years will pass, and he will be making more balanced statements," he said.
Putin also dismissed an allegation that Russia poses a threat to Spain.
"This is just some lunacy again. Some threat from Russia to Spain, which is on the other side of the European continent..." he said.
Putin said he was unware that the Spanish ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Well, ambassadors exist just for this very purpose - to work with their tongues, and there is nothing unusual here," he said.
Putin recalled the help the Soviet Union provided to the Republicans during the civil war in Spain and also its help in fighting Nazism and fascism.
Borrell said in an interview with El Periodico in May that Russia was a threat to his country.
Following those statements, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Spanish Ambassador to Russia Fernando Valderrama Pareja.