SOCHI, October 19. /TASS/. Russia will do everything possible to contribute to the unification of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
"Sooner or later, the unification will become a reality. I mean, not the interstate unification, but the restoration of ties," he said. "The sooner it happens the better, we will do everything to contribute to it," he added.
Putin stressed that he had an affection for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, and considered them to be "brotherly people, if not a part of the Russian people." "Though it appeals neither to Russian nor Ukrainian nationalists, but this is my stance," he said.
Ties between Russia and Ukraine must be restored in due course as both countries need this, Putin said.
"I think that restoration of ties is necessary. Also for Russia by the way," he said.
Putin reiterated that Russia has received about a million of Ukrainians, as well as cited Polish officials who say the same number of Ukrainian nationals have arrived in that country. "This is Ukraine’s trouble. De-industrialization is underway, major industrial enterprises shut down, the Russian market has been lost, nobody needs the products," he went on.
"Metallurgical industry is still functioning there, but machine industry, aircraft and space sectors, in other words high-tech promising spheres, are in a sorry plight there," the president said.
Commenting on the situation with refugees from Ukraine to Russia, Putin said the government and concerned agencies had an instruction to make easier their life in Russia.
"This must be done carefully, given our possibilities, given social consequences, readiness or not-readiness of social infrastructure," Putin went on. "But I believe this is fair and we must support these people, and those who want to stay in Russia must have an opportunity for that. We are working on this at the moment," the president added.
The West should have influence on Kiev to resolve the conflict in Ukraine as the current situation around this country is obviously unacceptable, Putin said.
"Addressing Russia is not enough. They should have influence on Kiev’s position," Putin said.
Nothing will happen until the West realizes that this problem cannot be solved without influence on the Ukrainian side, he said.
"But I hope this realization will eventually come," Putin said, adding that he saw the interest of European partners in resolving this problem.
The intolerableness of the current situation is becoming obvious for the majority of Ukrainian citizens, he said.
Should a decision be made to close Russia’s border with the self-proclaimed republics in the east of Ukraine, a bloodbath will follow there, which Russia will never let happen, Putin said.
"As long as political issues remain unresolved, these territories do not enjoy a special status and amnesty legislation does not exist, a decision to close the border between Russia and the unrecognized republics will bring about a situation similar to the one that emerged in Srebrenica. A bloodbath will be staged there. We cannot let this happen and we will never let it happen," Putin said.
Putin said he did not imagine how Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko could possibly venture to implement the Minsk accords amid the current situation in Ukraine.
As he spoke at the conclusive plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club underway in Sochi, Putin said the incumbent Kiev government was stonewalling the Minsk accords.
"Everyone has long realized the incumbent Ukranian authorities are unable to fulfill them," he said. "And now that the situation in the country has degraded to the utmost from the point of view or both economy and domestic policy, now that the police are using tear gas to dispel protesters, just imagine the Ukrainian President ventures to make at least some steps to implement put the accords into effect."
"I can't see how this possibly could be done," Putin said.
The current situation in Ukraine results from an anti-constitutional takeover and Europe is responsible for this, according to Putin.
"Today’s situation is the result of an anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine, and Europe is to blame for this as it supported the coup," Putin said.
The president said the situation degenerated into a coup "due to an unconstructive position by the former composition of the European Commission". Putin said that the US and Europe had supported financially and politically the riots in Ukraine at the end of 2013 after the then resident Viktor Yanukovich had suspended the signing an association agreement with the European Union.
"They supported the unconstitutional coup, bloody and with casualties, bringing the situation to a war in the southeast of Ukraine. Crimea declared its independence and accession to Russia. And you believe we are responsible for this? That we let the situation degenerate into an unconstitutional coup?" Putin asked.
Following the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, the authorities of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol held a referendum on March 16, 2014, on reunification with Russia after sixty years under the sway of Ukraine. More than 80% of registered voters came to the polls and of that number, 96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol voted in favor of reunification.