Russian President Vladimir Putin has addressed a Kremlin meeting with Cabinet members. Follows a transcript of his speech: "Above all, I want to briefly inform you of my conversation with the president of the United States. President Bush called me last night and said that an hour or an hour and a half later an operation would begin against terrorist bases in Afghanistan. I have no doubts that the leadership of the United States and President Bush will do their best to prevent the suffering of Afghanistan's civilian population. No doubts at all. "I think such developments were quite expectable because, as you know, the September 11, 2001, tragic events killed almost 7,000 people, more than twice as many as the Russian Federation's losses during all ground operations against terrorists in Chechnya since 1999. Such a huge damage could not pass unnoticed and could not but trigger a corresponding reaction. "I do not think this reaction was expected only by those who combat terrorism. I have no doubts that terrorists, too, expected such a reaction. They knew perfectly well what they were doing, they knew what risk they were running, and they expected such a turn of events. Moreover, they have been provoking the leadership of the world's major countries to make things develop this way. Yet this time, I think, they have made a mistake. "These are people who over the last decade have established control over huge money flows based on petrodollars and drug-trafficking. They use this money to deliver monstrous, merciless strikes against countries which they choose as targets for their attacks. They think they can use this money to deliver such strikes and paralyze the will of these countries' people to resist, and on the other hand, they use this money to brainwash people, to influence the public opinion via mass media under their control. "They hope that modern civilization has become corpulent and clumsy and has lost the ability to resist. But this was not the only thing they hoped for. They hoped that, like in previous years, they would be able to manoeuvre between various centres of power, relying now on one wing, now on another, now on one centre and now on another. Things did develop this way for years. However, after the horrible tragedy of September 11 mankind has grown up. I think terrorists have suffered from their own insolence and self-assurance. They did not expect such coherence of the international community in the face of the common threat. I would very much like this coherence to manifest itself in the best way so that terrorists feel the result of the international community's concerted efforts in combating terror. "The Russian Federation has already set the parameters of its participation in anti-terrorist operations. They remain unchanged. You know that we are also launching a large-scale program of providing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan and we will step up our efforts in this area. We will coordinate them with the actions of the international community, with our European and U.S. partners. "This is what I would like to say in the beginning about the struggle against terror."
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