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“Naturally, we cannot ignore the developments surrounding Ukraine, Crimea and this complex problem. I want to stress that this crisis was not caused by us, but we are involved in it one way or another,” the president said.
“This is primarily an internal Ukrainian crisis. Unfortunately, we all understand that we have got involved in these events one way or another,” he added.
“Let’s think together how we should build relations with our partners and friends in Ukraine and with our partners in Europe and the United States,” Putin said.
He noted that Ukraine had not been initially on the agenda of the meeting. “The first and scheduled [issue] is the development of relations between the Russian Federation and Central American and Caribbean countries,” Putin said, suggesting that it be discussed first.
Attending the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, his deputy Rashid Nurgaliyev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov, and permanent member of the Russian Security Council Boris Gryzlov.