MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said US troops in Germany are still occupation forces in legal terms and in practice.
"Soviet troops were stationed in Austria but they left voluntarily <...> Russia as the legal successor of the Soviet Union is the guarantor of the constitution of the Austrian Republic and the guarantor of the neutrality of the Austrian Republic. In general, many ordinary people in Austria are aware of that and are grateful to Russia for this position. <...> As for other European countries, the situation is complicated," the president said at a meeting with university students.
He said "the biggest country in Europe, the economic giant is the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet Union formalized legally binding terms to end its occupation."
"Following the Second World War Germany was divided, as you know, into four sectors: the American, the British, The French and the Soviet ones. So, the Soviet Union formalized the end of that occupation status, and the United States hasn’t. And strictly speaking, formally and in a legal sense, there are US occupation forces that are on the territory of the Federal Republic [of Germany]. And that’s what’s happening in effect: There are a lot of them there," Putin said.
According to the president, "German politicians themselves say that after the Second World War, Germany was never, in the full sense of the word, a sovereign country."
"This is not what I am saying, it’s said by prominent, I want to emphasize this, not Russian-oriented politicians, but German-oriented politicians, they are saying it bluntly. It's direct speech. A lot of what's going on has deep roots, certain foundations," Putin said.