Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Minsk Agreement on the Ukrainian settlement ceased to exist when Russia recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Putin said Russia had struggled for eight years for the implementation of the accord while the Ukrainian authorities had stalled them.
“Now the Minsk agreements do not exist. Why should we implement them if we recognize the independence of these entities?” he questioned.
He insisted that the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk independence from Ukraine was “dictated by the unwillingness of Kyiv to implement the Minsk Agreement.”
“By the efforts of the current Kyiv authorities, everything was reduced to zero. The Minsk agreements were killed long before yesterday’s recognition of the people’s republics of Donbas. And not by us, not by representatives of these republics, but by the current Kyiv authorities,” he maintained.
Putin confirmed that Russia will provide Donetsk and Luhansk military assistance, provided by the terms of the agreements, signed and ratified by the Russian parliament.
He added that by this move Russia “makes it clear that, if necessary, it intends to fulfill its obligations.”
When the Russian troops will go to Donbas will depend on the developments on the ground, he said.
Commenting on Ukraine’s desire to become a nuclear power, Putin said he understood it was said especially for Russia, adding that the message was heard.
He said Ukraine has everything it needs except for uranium enrichment system to start producing nuclear weapons, but for Ukraine it is “a problem easy to solve,” taking into account Ukraine’s support by countries, possessing the technology of the uranium enrichment.
However, Russia and Ukraine could normalize ties, for that Kyiv must abandon its desire to join NATO and recognize Crimea and Sevastopol as Russian territories, he said.
“We categorically object to Ukraine’s admission to NATO, because it poses a threat to us, and we have grounds for it”, Putin said.