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SOCHI, October 24. /TASS/. The situation in south-east Ukraine will be driven into a deadlock “if someone yields to the temptation of using force,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in the southern Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday.
Putin noted that there is still hope for peace in Ukraine. He stressed that Russia speaks for observing in full the Minsk agreements with all sides — militias and government forces.
“We don’t see the Ukrainian authorities’ desire to solve the problem with the help of political process,” Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes for normalization of Russian-Ukrainian relations. “I do hope for normalization of Russian-Ukrainian relations and their development. To my mind this is inevitable,” he said.
Putin remarked that Crimea’s unification with Russia last March by no means signified that Russia had no respect for the sovereignty of Ukraine.
“As a result of a government coup supported by our Western partners, the people of Crimea got scared and decided to take care of the future, their own and of their children as well, and used the right to self-determination international law provides for. That does not mean that we disrespect the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state on the whole,” Putin said about Russia’s stance.
He pointed out that Moscow was determined to respect Ukrainian sovereignty in the future.
Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Friday that Russia had helped Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych to move to Crimea to avoid persecution by Ukrainian opposition forces.
“I am not going to conceal that we helped him (Yanukovych) to move to Crimea where he stayed for several days. Crimea was still part of Ukraine at that time,” Putin told the participants in the Valdai discussion club, recalling the days when the key phase of the Ukraine crisis started in Kiev.