“The question of restoring trust is vital for the entire economic forum. The urgent problems you have mentioned in relation to Ukraine and Crimea are linked exactly to lack of this trust,” the Russian president stressed, adding that without Russia Crimea would have seen a worse tragedy than the May 2 massacre in Odessa.
“What are the causes behind the Ukraine crisis?” Putin asked.
“What was next? The next thing was chaos, and now we see a full-scale civil war,” Putin stressed.
He added that Russia had created conditions for the Crimean people to express their will freely. Otherwise, Crimea would have seen a worse tragedy than in Odessa.
“If we had not done that, we would have had bigger tragedies (in Crimea) than we are currently seeing in other Ukrainian cities, including Odessa where people were burnt alive inside a building,” the Russian head of state said.
“Fifty people burnt alive while fifty went missing. Where are they? In fact, they were also killed,” Putin stressed.
Putin recalls under the effective Ukrainian Constitution a new president cannot be elected now, as a referendum and a constitutional reform should precede elections. He is convinced that conditions for elections in Ukraine do not meet international standards.
“Tanks are waging fire there or journalists were detained and have been kept in Gestapo conditions for the third day. Are these conditions proper for elections?” the Russian president contemplated. He noted that this situation did not meet international requirements for elections, however, he noted, “Let they hold it (elections).
Russian president wants peace to come to Ukraine and wants the country to overcome current crisis, therefore, Russia will work with newly-elected structures, but the Russian president believes that conditions for elections in Ukraine do not meet international standards.
He hopes for the beginning of a substantive Russia-EU dialogue on a new partnership agreement.
“We hope that a substantive meaningful dialogue, as diplomats say, will begin one day,” the Russian head of state said .
In his view, “there is no other way to build an atmosphere of trust.” Putin also called for the beginning of direct negotiations and search for compromise on this issue “with respect for the rights and interests” of the parties.
He also is surprised EU refuses to work with Customs Union.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is bewildered over Ukraine refusing to pay for gas even after Russia had given a multi-billion aid to the country at the end of the previous year.
“The question is where our money? For what our multi-billion aid was used?” Putin said at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas has reached $3.5 billion, Putin noted.
“It turned out that we have delivered unpaid about 10 billion cubic metres of gas in absolute figures to Ukraine. This is the same amount as the annual gas supply to Poland,” the Russian president noted.