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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Clarifies 'Powers'

President Boris Yeltsin on Wednesday announced that a recent speech in which he said Russia should have "special powers" to regulate conflicts in the former Soviet Union was "misinterpreted".


The speech drew a prompt and outraged response from Ukraine, which took it as confirmation that Russia still wants to dominate the former Soviet republics militarily.


The statement, which was carried on Interfax, went on to say that the president's words had been taken out of context and given "an almost neo-imperialist undertone".


Yeltsin's controversial words were delivered as part of a speech to a conference of the Civic Union coalition Sunday.


"I think the moment has come when responsible international organizations, including the United Nations, should grant Russia special powers as a guarantor of peace and stability in the region of the former Soviet Union", he told the lobby of industrialists.


The Foreign Ministry's clarification said that the president had nothing of the sort in mind, and that all of Russia's military interventions to date in the former republics had been made with the explicit consent of those governments and were peacekeeping missions.


What Yeltsin was asking the U. N. to do, the statement continued, was to share the burden of these peacekeeping missions - in particular their cost.


The statement also addressed Ukraine's response to the speech, describing it as "slightly emotional".


"We would prefer our Ukrainian colleagues, mindful of good relations between our two countries, to ask us for explanations which will be forthcoming", said the statement.