Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Kiev to start substantial talks on deescalating the crisis in eastern Ukraine. He added that it’s an illusion to expect that the rebels would calmly watch their homes being destroyed.
“We have agreed on a plan, so its realization must be pursued,” Putin told Channel 1 TV, adding that the Ukrainian government “must immediately start substantial talks – not a technical discussion – on the political organization of society and the state in southeast Ukraine so that the interests of people who live there are protected.”
Putin said that, while the resolution of the crisis now mostly depends on Kiev, it is impossible to say when it may end. He said it could be explained by the upcoming Ukrainian parliamentary elections.
“All the participants in the electoral race will want to show how cool they are,” Putin said. “Everyone will want to show they are strongmen or strongwomen, and as the political struggle sharpens it is hard to expect anyone to seek a peaceful resolution and not a military one.”
At the same time, it is an illusion that the rebels would sit and patiently wait for the promised talks to start, Putin said, especially when they see “cities and towns in southeast Ukraine shelled to the ground with direct fire.”
Commenting on the new batch of sanctions against Russia threatened by western countries, Putin advised his counterparts to think again about what they are advocating.
“What are the so-called European values then? Support for an armed coup, suppression of opponents with armed forces – so these are ‘European values’? I believe our colleagues should be reminded of their own ideals,” the president said.