Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a candid interview for a film that delves into the fall of the Soviet Union and opened up about a time in his life when he was far from occupying the highest seat in the Kremlin.
Putin, who was interviewed in Channel One’s “Russia. Recent History,” said at the time of the collapse, he had to make ends meet, so he occasionally drove a taxi, the Guardian reported.
“Sometimes I had to earn extra money,” the former KGB agent said, according to the report. “I mean, earn extra money by car, as a private driver. It’s unpleasant to talk about to be honest but, unfortunately, that was the case.”
The paper pointed out that Putin once called the Soviet Union’s collapse the “greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century.”
Putin has been accused by critics of being obsessed with reestablishing the old Soviet Union.
“As I look at Russia, I’m concerned that their ambition does not stop with Ukraine,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said in a Senate committee hearing last week. “Putin’s ambition, personally, is much broader and what happens in Ukraine is an appetizer for a growing appetite on his part.”
Putin’s defenders take the Russian president at his word when he says the separatists fighting in Donbass are not tried to Moscow. They say Putin is lashing out against an over-assertive NATO. U.S. intelligence reports last week said Russia had moved 70,000 troops to Ukraine’s borders as it builds toward a possible invasion early next year.
Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone for more than an hour Thursday.
Biden assured Zelenskyy of support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He also renewed a pledge that the U.S. and its allies would hit Russia with economic sanctions and intensify defensive aid to Ukraine and NATO allies nearest to Russia if Russia did invade, the White House said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report