From the Daily Star:
"Putin hails Peter the Great, admits his own war on Ukraine is land grab
Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute on Thursday to Tsar Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of his birth, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands.
"Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia's)," Putin said after a visiting an exhibition dedicated to the tsar.
In televised comments on day 106 of his war in Ukraine, he compared Peter's campaign with the task facing Russia today.
"Apparently, it also fell to us to return (what is Russia's) and strengthen (the country). And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face."
...Putin has repeatedly sought to justify Russia's actions in Ukraine, where his forces have devastated cities, killed thousands and put millions of people to flight, by propounding a view of history that asserts Ukraine has no real national identity or tradition of statehood...
In July 2021, the Kremlin published a long essay by Putin in which he argued that Russia and Ukraine were one nation, artificially divided. It laid the groundwork for his deployment of troops to Ukraine.
Moscow says it acted to disarm and "denazify" its neighbour. Ukraine and its allies say Putin has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.
In the run up to what Russia calls its "special military operation", Putin blamed Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, for creating Ukraine on what Putin said was historically Russian territory."