Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Russian President Vladimir Putin is an ``extreme nationalist'' and an ``imperialist'' who is threatening global peace and security.
In an interview with Global News' The West Block, the prime minister says Putin believes he has the right to invade other countries and alter borders through military force, as Russia's effective annexation of Crimea from Ukraine proves.
In France to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day last week, Harper shunned Putin while other G7 leaders met with the Russian president.
But Harper says he's not afraid to take stands that put Canada offside from other allies, from time to time.
While he's backing off previous comments comparing Putin to Adolph Hitler, Harper says the Second World War could have been avoided if other nations hadn't turned a blind eye to Nazi Germany's aggression, a lesson he believes applies to Russia today.
He says his government is considering permanently stationing troops in Eastern Europe, as part of a possible NATO bid to reassure allies in the region who are ``beside themselves'' over Putin's apparent expansionist agenda.
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