On June 22, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “Russia doesn’t have any territorial claims against its neighbors.”
He was commenting on President Vladimir Putin’s remarks in an interview for the documentary film “Russia. Kremlin. Putin.” broadcast by Rossiya-1 state television on June 21.
In the documentary, Putin said that with the Soviet Union’s breakup in 1991, some of the newly independent former Soviet republics took away “Russia’s traditionally historic territories” they had acquired while part of the Soviet Union. These states should have “left with what they arrived, rather than taking with them gifts from the Russian people,” Putin said.
Putin claimed that when the Soviet Union was created, the right to leave it was written into its founding documents, but the departure procedure was not specified.
“Putin talked about previous systemic mistakes in the constitution that failed to envision a whole number of situations, developments which could have negative consequences for our state,” Peskov said. He declined to comment on Putin’s use of the word “gifts” but stated:
“No, Russia doesn’t have any territorial claims against its neighbors.”
That is misleading. Call it “claims” or not, Russia’s territorial meddling with neighbors is fact.
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