Putin: The Paris attacks might never have happened if the US had listened to me
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly suggested that November's terrorist attacks in Paris might never have happened if the US had "listened" to officials who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Putin made the suggestion during an interview with German newspaper Bild. His comments about the US and Iraq appear in an English translation on the Kremlin's website, but not in an English translation provided by Bild.
Here's the exchange as recorded on the Kremlin's site (emphasis added):
Question: There is a theory saying that there are two Mr. Putins: the first one was young pre-2007 Mr. Putin who showed solidarity with the United States and who was friends with Mr Schroeder, and then, after 2007, another Mr. Putin came. Back in 2000 you said, “We should have no confrontations in Europe, we should do everything to overcome them.” And now we have found ourselves in such confrontation.
May I ask you a straightforward question? When we are going to have the first Mr. Putin back?
Putin: I have never changed. First, I still feel young today. I was and I continue to be Mr Schroeder’s friend. Nothing has changed.
My attitude to such issues as the fight against terrorism has not changed either. It is true, on September 11, [2001,] I was the first to call President Bush and express my solidarity. Indeed, we stood ready to do everything to combat terrorism together. Not so long ago, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, I called and then met the President of France.
If anyone had listened to [former German Chancellor] Gerhard Schröder, to [former French President] Jacques Chirac, to me, perhaps there would have been none of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, as there would have been no upsurge of terrorism in Iraq, Libya, or other countries in the Middle East.