US film director Oliver Stone said in an interview published Tuesday he admired Russian President Vladimir Putin and understood his actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
Stone, a Vietnam veteran turned polemicist filmmaker best known for his movies "Platoon", "Wall Street" and "JFK", called Putin a "strong person" who saved Russia from the "hands of bandits" in the 1990s.
Speaking of the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine, Stone told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government newspaper: "In my view, Putin occupies a defensive position, protecting Russia's key geopolitical interests."
Vote Now: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance?
"I understand why Putin could not abandon Crimea," he said, noting that Russia's Black Sea fleet was based on the peninsula which the Russian president annexed in March.
Stone also said he recently met Edward Snowden in Moscow as preparation for a film he is doing on the fugitive ex-NSA analyst.
"We plan to start filming in the early months of next year and finish the film by the end of 2015," he said.
Stone added that he is not taking any moral position on Snowdon and his revelations about extensive US snooping at home and abroad. But he he praised Russia for giving him political asylum.
Russia wants to show that "there should be an alternative to a world completely controlled by the United States," he said.
Stone said he is also working with Ukrainian producers who are making a film about the Ukraine crisis called "Ukraine on Fire".
"They would like me to interview Vladimir Putin," he said. "We put forward such a proposal. So far I can't say for sure whether it will work out."