- REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool
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.
“Fifty 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.
But Russian officials have since admitted that the goal of the intervention is to shore up Assad’s regime with the goal of giving the outside world a choice between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or ISIS.
About 80% of Russia’s airstrikes have targeted CIA-backed moderate rebels and Islamist militias throughout the northwest of Syria instead of ISIS. 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.
The Syrian president flew to Russia Wednesday to formally thank Putin for the military assistance.