Putin Tells Aliyev Russia not Going to Restore Empire

Vladimir Putin reassured today visiting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that Russia has no plans to restore the empire within its erstwhile borders.

Putin’s remarks come a day after his defiant speech over the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk ‘republics,’ in which he questioned Ukraine’s sovereignty and blamed communists for “the collapse of the historical Russia known as the USSR.”

“After the Soviet collapse, Russia recognized new geopolitical realities and, is actively working to strengthen our cooperation with all the independent states that emerged in the post-Soviet space,” he said.

“Even in acute situations, such as, for example, the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, we have always acted very carefully, based on the interests of all the states involved,” Russian President noted.

Putin further claimed that CSTO helping Kazakhstani authorities to handle bloody January protests showed “Russia only supports the sovereignty of our neighbors, strengthens it in every possible way.”

But, Putin said, “after the coup d’état in Ukraine [in 2014] we do not see this level and quality of interaction with Ukraine.”

“It was after the coup d’état and the illegal seizure of power by those who did it.”

“We intend to continue this work towards all our neighbors,” Russian President went on, repeating that “the situation with Ukraine is different.”

This is because, Putin claimed, Ukraine’s “territory is unfortunately used by third countries to create threats against the Russian Federation.”

Putin yesterday ordered Russian troops into occupied Donetsk and Luhansk in parallel to their recognition, marking a new invasion of Ukraine. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.

Georgian leadership last night strongly condemned the Donbas recognition and asserted that Moscow was repeating the scenario tested in Georgia in 2008.

In August 2008, Russia went into five-day war with Georgia over Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, and soon afterward granted breakaway Tskhinvali and Abkhazia regions international recognition.

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