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MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. The West should realize that attempts of sanctions pressure against Russia do not promote settlement but only complicate dialogue, including on the Ukrainian issue, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Serbian government daily Politika.
“Our partners should be fully aware that attempts to pressure Russia by one-sided illegitimate restrictive steps do not make settlement closer but only complicate dialogue,” Putin said.
“What urge for de-escalation in Ukraine can be talked about if decisions on new packages of sanctions are made almost simultaneously with achievement of agreements on promotion of the peace process?” he said.
Putin noted that “if the key urge is to isolate our country, then this is a totally absurd, delusive goal.” “It is clear that it is impossible to achieve, although, of course, the economic health of Europe and the entire world may be harmed greatly,” he said.
Speaking about Western sanctions, the Russian leader said that it is difficult to understand their logic.
“It is clear to any unbiased person that it was by no means Russia who contributed to the coup in Ukraine that led to the current serious intra-political crisis and civil split,” Putin said.
“It was the anti-constitutional seizure of power that became the starting point for subsequent events, including in Crimea,” he said.
Putin recalled that Crimean residents, while defending their right to their native language, culture and history, decided to hold a referendum in full compliance with the UN Charter because they realized that the situation was complicated and unpredictable. The peninsula reunified with Russia as a result.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the United States to stop recklessly blackmailing Russia.
“We hope that our partners will be wise enough to see the recklessness of their attempts to blackmail Russia and think about impacts of discord between big nuclear powers on strategic stability,” Putin said in an interview with Serbia’s daily newspaper Politika on Wednesday. “On our part, we are ready for further constructive cooperation on the principles of equality and real reckoning of each other’s interests.
Mutually beneficial cooperation with Kiev will be possible after the situation stabilizes and stable peace is achieved in Ukraine, Putin said.
“Despite the current complicated stage in Russian-Ukrainian relations, we are interested in progressive, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with Ukrainian partners,” Putin said.
“In practice it will be possible after achievement of stable peace and stabilization of the situation in Ukraine. So we hope to overcome the protracted deep political and economic crisis,” he said.
Ukraine has been in deep crisis since the end of last year, when then-President Viktor Yanukovich suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union to study the deal more thoroughly. The move triggered mass riots that eventually ended with a coup in February 2014.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during the coup.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Putin signed the reunification deals March 18.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea’s example apparently inspired residents of Ukraine’s southeast who did not recognize the coup-imposed authorities either, formed militias and started fighting for their rights.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea. The West announced new sectoral sanctions against Russia in late July over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.
In response, Russia imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.
Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in protests in the southeast of Ukraine.
Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine’s southeast, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums, kicked off in mid-April and has involved armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. It has killed hundreds of civilians, brought destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on cessation of fire and exchange of prisoners during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.