Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to appear at the United Nations and then have a sit down with President Barack Obama on Sept. 28. Before his meeting with the U.N., Putin gave an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” discussing the War on Islamic State group, his opinion of President Obama and his heavily criticized occupation of the Ukraine (video below).
Putin on his support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose brutal crackdowns on peaceful protestors led to the country’s civil war and the displacement of thousands of Syrian refugees:
“We support the legitimate government of Syria. And it's my deep belief that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya where all the state institutions are disintegrated. We see a similar situation in Iraq. And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. But, at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”
On his annexation of Crimea, a maneuver that has created great tension at the U.N., Putin explains that his claim over Ukraine stems from Russia’s ties to the country. “It is our closest neighbor,” he says. “We've always said that this is our sister country. It's not only a Slavic people. We have common history, common culture, common religion, and many things in common.”
Putin then claimed the U.S. had manipulated the Ukraine internally, helping oust former President Viktor Yanukovych. “I know for sure,” he says.
When Rose asked the Russian president about the Washington, D.C., criticisms of Obama for being “weak” on foreign policy, Putin responded, “I don’t think so at all.”
“In any country — and in the U.S. I believe this happens even more often than in any other country — foreign political factors are used for domestic political battles,” Putin explained. “There is a presidential campaign coming up, so they’re playing either the Russian card or something else.”
The interview concluded with Rose asking Putin what he admired most about America.
“I like that creativity,” Putin answered. “Creativity when it comes to your tackling problems. Their openness, openness and open-mindedness. Because it allows them to unleash the inner potential of their people. And thanks to that, America has attained such amazing results in developing their country."