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Russia Takes 'Moral Reponsibility' For '68 Czechoslovak Invasion

Presidents Putin (left) and Klaus are meeting in Prague (epa) PRAGUE, 1 March 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow bears moral responsibility for the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Speaking at a press conference in Prague, Putin noted his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, in 1993 had already condemned the crackdown that ended the Prague Spring reform movement.

Putin said he shared this assessment, namely that there is a "moral responsibility" on Russia's part.

But he said that does not mean that present-day Russia bears any legal responsibility for the 1968 events.

In Hungary on Tuesday, Putin made a similar statement about the Soviet crushing of the 1956 revolution.

Today, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said he appreciated Putin's comment and emphasized that he saw no reason to be discussing the events of decades ago with the Russian president today.

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