Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine’s leaders on Thursday of committing a “grave crime” by using the army to quell unrest in the east of the country, and did not rule out sending in Russian troops, writes Reuters.
“Instead of realising that there is something wrong with the Ukrainian government and attempting dialogue, they made more threats of force … this is another very grave crime by Kiev’s current leaders,” Putin said, addressing Russians in his annual televised phone-in.
While recalling that parliament had granted him the right to use military force in Ukraine, the Kremlin chief said: “I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that we are able to solve all today’s pressing issues via political and diplomatic means.”
Regarding Moldova and Ukraine, Putin advised the blockade of Transnistria should immediately be lifted. Nationalist militias have already approached the territory of the region, he said.
“This is one of the most difficult problems we inherited after the collapse of the USSR. The population there counts over half a million people, and the people share pro-Russian views. The number of Russian citizens is large. People have their own idea of how they can build their future, their own destiny. And this is nothing but a manifestation of democracy, if we let them do what they want,” said the Russian leader.
Revisiting the question of the Crimea, Putin stressed out that Russia did not take the territory by force.
“Russia did not annex the Crimea by force. Russia created conditions – with the use, of course, special groups and armed forces – but we only created conditions for the people living in the Crimea and Sevastopol to express their will freely,” he said.
Ukraine sent in troops this week to try to recapture a series of eastern towns from pro-Russian militants, but their first attempt on Wednesday ended in disarray, with some armoured troop carriers retreating and others falling into the hands of the separatists.
President Basescu reacted quickly to Putin’s comments, stating that “it is inadmissible to question internationally recognized borders”.
“The president of Romania observes that lately there have been comments and viewpoints that breach international law principles and the very fundamentals of Europe’s security system. Questioning international borders is inadmissible and it directly affects regional peace and stability. Revisionary movements started abroad and generated artificially are direct threats to a country’s sovereignty and integrity and they cannot be used as solutions for protecting minorities’ rights. Arguing with state organisation and imposing federal autonomy-based models by employing minority members for subversive actions constitute a direct meddling in teh internal affairs of sovereign states“, according to a press release from the Presidential Administration.
At the same time, the chief of state guarantees Romania’s willingness to support in any way “finding adequate solutions for Republic of Moldova’s request to ensure free circulation of people, goods and services within European law and European standards”.
“The president of Romania requests that the Russian Federation return to the commitments it made within international agreements and offer its contribution to stabilizing the situation in the region”, according to the press release.
Later in the day, top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine. Reached after seven hours of negotiation, the agreement does not set out specific directions for Ukraine’s future, but it requires all sides to halt any violence, intimidation or provocative actions.
The agreement puts on hold — for now at least — additional economic sanctions the West had prepared to impose on Russia if the talks were fruitless. That will ease international pressure both on Moscow and nervous European Union nations that depend on Russia for their energy, according to Huffington Post.