NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia (AP) — In an interview with The Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television, President Vladimir Putin discussed a wide range of issues, including disputes over the Syrian civil war, his relations with President Barack Obama, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and the rights of gays in Russia. Here are 10 interesting things he said in the interview late Tuesday.
1. CHEMICAL WEAPONS VIDEOS DON'T PROVE SYRIA'S GOVERNMENT IS GUILTY
"As for that footage, video footage showing the dead children allegedly killed in the chemical attack, it is horrible. The question is only who did it and what they did, and who is responsible for this. These pictures do not answer the questions I have just posed. There is an opinion that it's a compilation by these very rebels, who are connected with al-Qaida and who were always distinguished by exceptional brutality."
2. RUSSIA WON'T RULE OUT MILITARY ACTION AGAINST SYRIA — IF U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES
"I do not exclude this, but I would like to draw your attention to one absolutely key aspect: In line with international law, only the U.N. Security Council can sanction the use of force against a sovereign state. Any other pretext or method which might be used to justify the use of force against an independent sovereign state is inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an aggression."
3. RUSSIAN SHIPMENTS OF AIR DEFENSE MISSILE SYSTEM TO SYRIA ON HOLD — FOR NOW
"We have a contract for the delivery of the S-300s. We have supplied some of the components, but the delivery hasn't been completed. We have suspended it for now. But if we see that steps are taken that violate the existing international norms, we shall think how we should act in the future, in particular regarding supplies of such sensitive weapons to certain regions of the world."
4. RELATIONS WITH OBAMA CAN BE TESTY — BUT THAT'S NORMAL
"President Obama hasn't been elected by the American people in order to be pleasant to Russia. And your humble servant hasn't been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to someone either. We work, we argue about some issues. We are human. Sometimes one of us gets vexed. But I would like to repeat once again that global mutual interests form a good basis for finding a joint solution to our problems."
5. ... AND DON'T READ TOO MUCH INTO BODY LANGUAGE
"There are some gestures, of course, that you can only interpret one way. But no one has ever seen those kinds of gestures directed by Obama at me or by me at Obama, and I hope that never happens. Everything else is fantasy."
6. NO OFFENSE, BUT U.S. SPIES LOST THE PLOT ON NSA LEAKER EDWARD SNOWDEN
"Representatives of the American intelligence agencies — and I hope they won't be angry — but they could have been more professional, and the diplomats as well. After they found out that he was flying to us, and that he was flying as a transit passenger, there was pressure from all sides — from the Americans, from the Europeans — instead of just letting him go to a country where they could operate easily."
7. HOMOPHOBIC, ME? LOOK HOW MANY AWARDS I'VE GIVEN TO GAYS!
"I assure you that I work with these people. I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields. We have absolutely normal relations, and I don't see anything out of the ordinary here. They say that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a homosexual. Truth be told, we don't love him because of that, but he was a great musician, and we all love his music. So what?"
8. TERRORISTS MUST BE FACED DOWN AND STOPPED
"Terrorists are always a threat to someone. If we're scared of them, it means they have won. But that doesn't mean we can have a devil-may-care attitude toward this threat. We must do everything to stop these threats and not give the terrorists a single chance to demonstrate their brutality and hatred of mankind."
9. OPPOSITION LEADER ALEXEI NAVALNY SHOULD CLEAN UP HIS OWN ACT BEFORE CRITICIZING CORRUPTION
"This gentleman has taken on the very fashionable theme of fighting corruption and I say again: In order to fight corruption you have to be crystal clear yourself. But there are problems here, and in this regard I unfortunately have a suspicion that this is just a way of getting votes and not a genuine desire to solve the problem."
10. BEWARE OF CALLS BY THE ELITE FOR REVOLUTION
"We should all be aware of the fact that when revolutionary — not evolutionary — changes come, things can get even worse. The intelligentsia should be aware of this. And it is the intelligentsia specifically that should keep this in mind and prevent society from radical steps and revolutions of all kinds. We've had enough of it. We've seen so many revolutions and wars. We need decades of calm and harmonious development."