Russian President Vladimir Putin believes Ukraine should be under the control of Moscow and he may be trying to recreate the USSR as a ?legacy project? before leaving office, the US State Department claimed on Tuesday.
Speaking to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland suggested that Putin views Ukraine and other former Soviet republics as within the Russian zone of influence.
"The concern is that President Putin's public lamentations and private lamentations about the demise of the Soviet Union have gotten noisier and stronger over the years," she said. "The concern is that he is, as a legacy project, seeking to reconstitute the Soviet Union."
According to Nuland, Washington fears that military conquest of Ukraine may just be the first step in reuniting the old Soviet republics into one state.
"Nobody wants or needs war at this moment least of all the people of Russia, who deserve better schools, better hospitals, better infrastructure, better health care, and that's where the wealth of that great country ought to be going, not on sending their boys to freeze on the Ukrainian front," she continued.
Nuland's comments come as tensions continue to rise on the Russia-Ukraine border, with Washington fearing that Moscow seeks to mount a military invasion. The Kremlin has consistently denied these allegations.
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the restoration of the USSR would be "impossible" and "senseless," even suggesting that it would be "inappropriate."
"Otherwise, we may also face social issues that will be impossible to solve, and even some issues of dilution of the state-forming ethnic core," the president said. "Russia's main gold reserve is people ... because our multiethnic Russian people are highly spiritual, with deep historical and cultural roots."