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MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and wants others to do the same, which means refraining from any support to state coups, Russian President Vladimir Putin told US journalist Charlie Rose in an interview with CBS and PBS.
When asked whether he respected Ukraine’s sovereignty, the Russian president answered: "Certainly."
"However, we would like other countries to respect the sovereignty of other states, including Ukraine, too. Respecting the sovereignty means preventing coups, unconstitutional actions and illegitimate overthrowing of the legitimate government," he said.
"At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government," Putin underscored and answered in the negative when asked whether Russia had to use the military force to accomplish that objective.
"Here is what I believe is completely unacceptable for us. Addressing issues, including controversial ones, as well as domestic issues of the former Soviet Republics through the so-called coloured revolutions, through coups and unconstitutional means of toppling the current government. That is absolutely unacceptable," the Russian leader said.
"Our partners in the United States are not trying to hide the fact that they supported those opposed to President Yanukovych," he said. "I know this for sure."
"We have thousands of contacts and thousands of connections with people who live in Ukraine. And we know who had meetings and worked with people who overthrew Viktor Yanukovych, as well as when and where they did it; we know the ways the assistance was provided, we know how much they paid them, we know which territories and countries hosted trainings and how it was done, we know who the instructors were," Putin said.
"We know everything. Well, actually, our US partners are not keeping it a secret," he said.
Commenting on remarks about Russia’s military presence on the borders with Ukraine, the Russian president said, "And if we keep our troops on our territory on the border with some state, you see it is a crime?"
In this connection, he recalled US military presence in Europe. "The U.S. tactical nuclear weapons are in Europe, let us not forget this. Does it mean that the U.S. has occupied Germany or that the U.S. never stopped the occupation after World War II and only transformed the occupation troops into the NATO forces?," he said.
Putin also said: "The Ukrainian issue is a separate huge issue for us, I will tell you why. Ukraine is the closest country to us. We have always said that Ukraine is our sister country and it is true. It is not just a Slavic people, it is the closest people to Russia: we have similar languages, culture, common history, religion etc.".