“I will say one more time that Ukraine is not only a neighboring country for us. It is an integral part of our own history, culture and spiritual space”, he pointed out in a speech where he will inform his decision on whether or not Russian will recognize the independence of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk (RPD, in Spanish) and Lugansk (RPL, in Spanish).
He recalled that in Ukraine live “our companions, loved ones, among whom there are not only colleagues, friends, former co-workers, but also relatives, people linked to us by blood and family ties”.
He stressed that Russia always cooperated with Kiev in an open, honest manner and has respected its interests since the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Earlier, the president listened to the Russian Security Council speak in favor of the measure, proposed by the majority of the Russian State Duma (Lower House of the Parliament).
Hours earlier, the heads of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Denis Pushlin and Leonid Pasechnik, respectively, called on Putin in public statements to recognize the independence of these territories and establish cooperation agreements with Moscow.
According to the president, the negotiations on the Donbass region have been ongoing for eight years and that process stalled.
“It is a dead end,” he expressed, while thanking the Council members for their opinions and participation in the meeting.
During the exchange, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed he does not see other way but to recognize these eastern Ukrainian territories, and pointed out that, on the other hand, the West will not change its position.
“I hope that by doing so, we will send a strong message to the world. We cannot watch indifferently for eight years as our fellow countrymen are mocked, so I do not see any other way.”
At the meeting, Putin said Ukraine already carried out two punitive military operations against the Donbass region and now, apparently, “we are witnessing the worsening of the situation for the third time”.
Putin went on to say that “all these years, the people living in these territories have really been harassed: constant shelling, blockade” and those living near the so-called front line have been forced to move into basements.
The Russian president warned that Moscow did everything possible to solve the conflict between Kiev and the Donbass region, in Ukraine, peacefully.
The Russian president recalled that from the moment when the people’s republics were established, the conflict between Ukrainian authorities and the inhabitants of that territory began.
He noted that in 2014, some Ukrainians did not accept the coup d’état and explained that this also applied to people who lived on the Crimea peninsula, as well as those who lived and continue living in Donbass. ef/arm/acl/mml