VLADIVOSTok, Russia (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the Soviet Union’s decision to send tanks to Hungary and Czechoslovakia to crush mass protests during the Cold War was a mistake.
“It was a mistake,” Putin said when asked about the perception of Russia as a colonial power due to Moscow’s decision to send tanks to Budapest in 1956 and to Prague in 1968.
“It is not right to do anything in foreign policy that harms the interests of other peoples,” said Putin, who in 2022 sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, triggering the largest land war in Europe since World War II.
Putin said that the United States was making the same mistakes as the Soviet Union. He said that Washington “has no friends, only interests.”
The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 was crushed by Soviet tanks and troops. At least 2,600 Hungarians and 600 Soviet soldiers were killed in the fighting.
The Prague Spring of 1968 ended when Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces invaded the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia. About 137 Czechs and Slovaks died as a result of the invasion, according to Czech historians.
Writing by Guy Faulconbridge. Edited by Mark Trevelyan
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