Putin Says Russia ‘Warm & Cuddly’ Compared to West

Moscow, Dec 17 (AFP/APP): President Vladimir Putin on Thursday described Russians as “warm and cuddly” compared to the West, which he chided for failing to keep its promises after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Putin was responding to a question from a Western journalist who asked why relations have deteriorated in recent years between Russia and the West. The BBC journalist asked Putin if he took any responsibility for the state of affairs or whether Russia was “warm and cuddly”.

“Compared to you, yes we are warm and cuddly,” Putin said at his annual end-of-year press conference, remarking that Russia had “freed” a host of countries by dissolving the Soviet Union in 1991. The Russian leader then said the West had violated its “assurances that NATO will not expand eastward” in the years since. “Who is warm and cuddly and who is aggressive? It’s not us who are aggressive,” Putin said.

And if Russia could not be described as “cuddly”, he added, then it could be described as “very benign, inclined to carrying on a dialogue and seeking compromise solutions”. In recent years, Russia and Western countries have seen their relations reach a low point since the end of the Cold War. Tensions rose after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and two years later was accused of meddling in the US presidential vote to help elect Donald Trump.

During his press conference on Thursday, Putin said he hopes the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden will work with Russia to resolve bilateral disagreements. He also quoted a famous Soviet cartoon character, Leopold the Cat, saying: “Let’s live in peace!”

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