“This opinion was expressed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, as reported on the official website of the President on Sunday, February 8.
The Ukrainian crisis, he said, has become the result of attempts by Western countries to pressure a number of states to choose “between Russia and Europe” in the context of “Eastern Partnership” (the EU integration program for the countries of the former Soviet Union). Putin noted that the US and its partners have ignored repeated warnings from Moscow to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine.
The President has reiterated again that the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine should be resolved through diplomatic channels, on the basis of the Minsk Agreements, for which the parties need to sit down at the negotiating table. “The most important condition for stabilizing the situation is an immediate ceasefire, putting a stop to the so-called anti-terrorist, but in fact, counterinsurgency operation in the south-east of Ukraine”, – he specified.
According to Putin, the crisis will continue for as long as “we will not put an end to the rampant radicalism and nationalism.” “It is imperative that the authorities in Kiev have come to an agreement with all political forces and regions of the country. They need to work out a formula of the constitutional structure of the state which would be safe and comfortable for all citizens,”- concluded the Russian leader.
Earlier, Putin stated during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that the meeting in the “Norman format”, scheduled for February 11 in Minsk, will take place “if by that time the parties will be able to agree on a number of positions.” For his part, Lukashenko assured that the talks in Minsk will be organized in “the best way possible”.
On February 7, the US Vice President Joseph Biden accused Putin of trying to “split Ukraine into eastern and western parts.” “Russia should understand that if it continues to follow with the current course, the West will continue to make it pay for it,” – he said. Moscow, according to Biden, has the power to make sure that the conflict in Ukraine was resolved peacefully.