Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that only Syrian people are entitled to decide who should govern their country and how. He was reacting to the reference of the U.S. coalition partners who want to see Syrian President Bashar Assad leave his office.
In a rare interview to “60 Minutes” aired Sunday, the Russian leader said that some countries supported terrorist organizations in Syria without thinking about the country’s future after the Assad regime was over. He added that terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group and Al Nusra controlled about 60 percent of the Syrian territory.
Putin also dismissed the ongoing speculation that Russian troops are operating in Syria. “Russia will not participate in any troop operations in the territory of Syria or in any other states,” CBS News quoted the Russian president as saying. “But we are considering intensifying our work with both President Assad and with our partners in other countries.”
Putin said that Russia did not have the ambition to see itself in a dominant role worldwide. “I'm proud of Russia, that's true. And we have something to be proud of, but we do not have any obsession with being a superpower in the international arena,” Putin added.
The Russian President called Ukraine as Russia’s “sister country.” However, he acknowledged that Ukraine was a major issue for Russia.
“What I believe is absolutely unacceptable is the resolution of internal political issues in the former USSR Republics, through "color revolutions," through coup d'états, through unconstitutional removal of power,” Putin said.
The Russian president is all set to meet U.S. President Barack Obama Monday, the same day he is going to address the United Nations General Assembly.