St. Petersburg, June 10: Russian President Vladimir Putin compared himself favourably to Peter the Great, a Russian monarch from the late 17th century, using the likening to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the media reported.

During a visit on Thursday to an exhibition dedicated to the first Russian Emperor, Putin attempted to liken Peter the Great's conquest of Sweden in the 18th century to his own modern day military invasion of Ukraine, CNN reported.

In his comments, Putin argued that Peter the Great was not conquering, but rather fighting over territory that rightfully belonged to Russia.

He went on to draw a parallel to today's war in Ukraine, suggesting Russia's recent military actions -- where his troops have destroyed Ukrainian cities, and killed thousands of innocent men, women and children -- are justified, because Ukraine is not a legitimate sovereign nation, but in fact Russian territory. Russia-Ukraine War: Estonia Bans Russian Ships from Entering Country's Ports.

Putin continued, adding that European countries did not recognize St. Petersburg as Russian at first, equating it to the current situation in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, that the US and European allies do not acknowledge as Russian, CNN reported.

Intense fighting is ongoing for control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, with no major changes reported in the past day, according to Ukrainian officials.

"The situation in Severodonetsk is very tense," Roman Vlasenko, head of the Severodonetsk district military administration, told Ukrainian national television, CNN reported.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 10, 2022 05:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website