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Vladimir Putin has fuelled speculation that Russia won't stop with its invasion of Ukraine, warning "you cannot put a fence" around his country.
The Russian president made the comments in a televised Q&A on Thursday while meeting with young entrepreneurs, comparing the ongoing Ukraine crisis with the Great Northern War of the early 1700s.
He added it "fell to us" to "return" what is Russia's and strengthen the nation, fuelling speculation he could have plans to attempt to expand his nation's territory.
Putin said: "Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia's)," he said after visiting an exhibition dedicated to the tsar.
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When Peter founded the new capital, "no European country recognised it as Russia. Everybody recognised it as Sweden," Putin added.
"What was (Peter) doing? Taking back and reinforcing. That's what he did."
He then compared Peter's campaign with the task facing Russia today.
He went on: "Apparently, it also fell to us to return (what is Russia's) and strengthen (the country). And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face."
And in perhaps his most ominous remarks at the event, the Russian appeared to leave the door open for further Russian territorial expansion.
"It's impossible — Do you understand? — impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia. And we do not intend to build that fence," he said.
Putin has now been in power for 23 years, and has repeatedly sought to justify Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Russia claimed the invasion was a "special military operation" to "de-nazify" the country, but has caused millions to flee, killed thousands and obliterated many cities.
Putin has claimed Ukraine has no real national identity or tradition of statehood, and attempted to bring it under his control.
Despite Western claims he believed he would take over within a matter of days, his under prepared forces were forced out of the north of Ukraine, away from the capital of Kyiv.
Russia has been at war with Ukraine for over 100 days, and while it has not published updated figures on its losses, Ukrainian authorities have estimated more than 31,000 Russian soldiers have died so far in the assault.
Having failed to take the capital of Kyiv, Russia has withdrawn from much of northern Ukraine to refocus on the east.
Peter the Great, an autocratic moderniser admired by liberal and conservative Russians alike, ruled for 43 years and gave his name to a new capital, St Petersburg - Putin's hometown - that he ordered built on land he conquered from Sweden.
It was a project that cost the lives of tens of thousands of serfs, conscripted as forced labourers to build Peter's "window to Europe" in the swamps of the Baltic Sea coast.
Prior to Putin's visit to the exhibition, state television aired a documentary praising Peter the Great as a tough military leader, greatly expanding Russian territory at the expense of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire with the modernised army and navy he built.