MOSCOW, Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In his first post-inauguration interview given exclusively to RT Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the most pressing domestic and international issues ahead of the Russia-hosted APEC Summit.
Commenting on Russia's continued opposition to foreign intervention in Syria, President Putin compared the quagmire there to the 11-year war in Afghanistan, saying that "the US and its allies went into Afghanistan, and now they're trying to figure out how to get the hell out of there." He added that the opposition's use of foreign fighters, particularly al Qaeda militants, is dangerous – "you might just as well unlock Guantanamo, arm all of its inmates and bring them to Syria to do the fighting – it's practically the same kind of people."
Asked about the verdict recently handed down in the trial of three members of the Pussy Riot punk rock band, Mr. Putin confirmed that he is aware of the case. "But I'm not getting involved in it in any way," – he added. Commenting on the case recently Mr.Putin has said that in his personal view, the sentence to punk-rockers for an unauthorized performance in the Christ the Savior Cathedral that have stirred outrage among believers, should not be very harsh. Shortly after three members of the band were sentenced to a two-year prison term, the decision that can be appealed. The maximum sentence could have been seven years imprisonment.
Mr. Putin also commented on the upcoming US presidential elections and the Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who has made antagonistic remarks toward the Kremlin. Should Mr. Romney win on November 6th, "we'll work with whichever president gets elected by the American people," said the Russian President, "but our efforts can only be as efficient as our partners will want them to be." He expressed his view on whether the West or the East will be a dominant factor influencing Russia's place in the world in the coming years.
Watch the exclusive interview with the Russian President on RT this Thursday, September 6th at 12:00-noon Moscow time, 8:00 GMT or 4 am EST.
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