Putin Addresses Ukraine From Eurasian Economic Summit
May 2, 2014 • 11:33AM

The Eurasian Supreme Economic Council, the heads of state of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, met April 29 in Minsk, Belarus, to pursue the negotiation of a treaty which will inaugurate the planned Eurasian Economic Union effective January 1, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters afterwards that the problem-areas in the proposed treaty were being cleared away, and that he was confident that the Economic Union would begin on schedule, as reported by the Kremlin website.

He also answered reporters' questions about Ukraine, saying, "As for the sanctions, I consider the first package of sanctions an unlawful and hostile act against Russia, and a step that will definitely damage Russia-U.S. and Russia-EU relations. But as for the second package of sanctions, it is not even clear exactly what they are all about, because they have no cause and effect link to what is happening now in Ukraine and in Russia.

"I think they are linked to the fact that our partners tried to settle the Ukrainian crisis using force, then realized what this leads to and are now looking for someone to blame. Let me say though that this has nothing to do with Russia. People say our special forces are present there, say we have sent instructors there. Let me say in all responsibility that there are no Russian instructors, special forces or troops of any kind there. We have no one there. They cooked up this whole mess themselves and are now trying to resolve the problem by using us.

"Can the situation be resolved? It probably can, but this would require the parties to the conflict to sit down at the negotiating table and respect the Geneva agreements. This would mean that the authorities in Kiev would have to release from prison the people in whom Ukrainians have placed their trust and chosen as leaders, and would have to begin direct dialogue with these people. It would mean disarming the radicals, Right Sector and other radical groups, and clearing them out of buildings in Kiev rather than legalizing their activities. It would mean equal respect too for the lawful rights of people in other parts of Ukraine, especially in the east and southeast of the country. Engaging in dialogue and looking for compromise solutions is something that must be done. The wrong thing to do is to start looking for scapegoats elsewhere.

"You know, it was handing out those pies on the Maidan [by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland] that paved the way to this crisis. We need to appreciate the seriousness of the situation and be equally serious about looking for solutions. Let me say again that there is nothing good in these sanctions—they will be damaging. The Russian Federation Government has already proposed some countermeasures. I do not see a need for us to take countermeasures, but if this kind of situation continues, of course we will have to start looking at who is doing what in Russia in different sectors of our economy, including the energy sector. We really have no desire to resort to these kinds of measures, take our own steps in response, and I hope that things do not reach this point."

Asked how he viewed the fact that the U.S. has now taken the lead in the crisis, leaving the EU in the background, Putin replied that it shows that the U.S. was directing the process from the outset,— ignoring the British Empire pulling puppet Obama's strings.

Thereafter, Putin spoke on Ukraine with the British and Italian prime ministers on April 30, and with Angela Merkel on May 1, one day before her Washington visit. He stressed the need for withdrawal of Ukraine troops from southeast Ukraine; she asked for Russian help in getting the military observers released there.