Putin: 'The streets of Leningrad taught me one thing ...'

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a difficult childhood growing up in the slums of Leningrad, Russia.

And that upbringing has seemingly stuck with him and continues to inform his view of dealing with fights — including terrorism — today.

Speaking on Syria and the fight against terrorism, Putin shared something he learned in his past.

“50 years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight’s inevitable, you must strike first,” Putin said, as translated by BuzzFeed reporter Max Seddon.

Russia is currently carrying out a large scale military operation in Syria in support of the Assad regime. Putin originally portrayed the intervention as a mission to help defeat ISIS.

However, Russian officials have since admitted that the goal of the intervention is to shore up Assad’s regime with the end goal of giving the outside world a choice between Assad or ISIS.

About 80% per cent of Russia’s airstrikes have targeted CIA-backed moderate rebels and Islamist militias throughout the northwest of Syria instead of the Islamic State. These more moderate rebels currently pose the greatest threat to the continued rule of the Assad regime.

And even before the start of the airstrikes, Moscow had been supplying Assad with a significant amount of resources in order to prop up the regime over the course of the 55-month war.

These include guns, grenades, tank parts, fighter jets, advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, long-range air defence missiles, military officers as advisers, diplomatic cover, and lots of cash.

And in a sign of Russia’s overall effort to legitimise Assad, Moscow is currently hosting Assad and calling for new Syrian presidential elections.

The Syrian president had flown to Russia on Wednesday to formally thank Putin for the military assistance.

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