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Putin says Russia has no desire to be a superpower

PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin, in a thinly veiled criticism of the US, has portrayed Russia as a force for peace and morality that had no desire to be a global superpower.

In an annual address to parliamentarians and senior national officials, Mr Putin said: "We do not aspire to be called some kind of superpower, understanding that as a claim to world or regional hegemony.

"We do not infringe on anyone's interests, we do not force our patronage on anyone, or try to teach anyone how to live."

Russia, he said, would strive to be a leader that defended international law and respected national sovereignty and the independence of nations.

Mr Putin added: "This is absolutely understandable for a state like Russia, with its great history and culture."

The president said Russia had a big role in a deal under which Syria is to scrap its chemical weapons and possible US military strikes were averted. He said Russia had helped "international law, common sense and the logic of peace" prevail.

Without naming the US, Mr Putin warned the development of anti-missile shields and long-range non-nuclear weapons could "reduce to nothing" existing nuclear arms control pacts and upset the post-Cold War strategic balance.

He added: "Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia. We will never allow this to happen."

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