As many as 300,000 volunteers have signed contracts with the Russian army since the beginning of this year, so Russia doesn't need to recruit foreign mercenaries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday during his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
He reiterated Moscow's readiness for talks with Ukraine and called on the Kiev authorities to "stop dancing to the tune of others."
ABOUT TALKS WITH UKRAINE
Moscow has "never refused to have talks" with Kiev. "So, please - if the other side is willing, let them state that openly."
"But from the other side we hear nothing."
"The tango is a nice dance, of course," he said, commenting on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's words that Russia and Ukraine will finally dance their tango. "But I think it's important that Ukraine not forget how to dance the 'gopak' (traditional Ukrainian folk dance - TASS). That's what is important. Otherwise, they will always have to dance to the tune of others."
Allegations that Russia has asked North Korea for volunteers to take part in the special military operation are "complete nonsense." Russia has "no such need to resort to outsourcing the [special] military operation to anybody from the outside."
ABOUT CLUSTER MUNITIONS
Cluster munitions are used by the Ukrainian side "in the widest possible way."
"There is one country that thinks it is exceptional - the United States." "Even what it considers to be a crime, it takes the liberty of doing itself. In fact, the US is using cluster munitions in this case, with the Ukrainians' hands."
ABOUT US' ROLE
The United States seeks to resolve all problems from a position of force, be it through the use of economic sanctions, or financial restrictions, or threatening to use military force or compelling the use of force." "They are trying to teach someone else, while they themselves are clueless, and they are unwilling to learn."
ABOUT COOPERATION WITH NORTH KOREA
"North Korea is our neighbor. One way or another, we have to establish good neighborly relations. Yes, there are certain peculiarities related to the Korean Peninsula," which are discussed openly. Moscow never violates "anything and in this case we will not violate anything." "But, of course, we will look for opportunities to develop Russia-North Korea relations."