VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the Soviet Union’s decision to send tanks into Hungary and Czechoslovakia to crush mass protests during the Cold War was a mistake.
“It was a mistake,” Putin said when asked about perceptions of Russia as a colonial power due to Moscow’s decision to send tanks into Budapest in 1956 and into 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 biggest land war in Europe since World War Two.
Putin said the United States was making the same mistakes as the Soviet Union. He said Washington had “no friends, only interests”.
The 1956 Hungarian Uprising was crushed by Soviet tanks and troops. At least 2,600 Hungarians and 600 Soviet troops were killed in the fighting.
The 1968 Prague Spring was ended when Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Around 137 Czechs and Slovaks died as a result of the invasion, according to Czech historians.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)