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Putin says Russia, Ukraine torn apart to prevent major rival from emerging

According to Putin, those who took power in Ukraine "pursued their self-interests"

MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Russian-Ukrainian cooperation irks numerous countries because it creates a global competitor to challenge them, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Any integration of Russia and Ukraine, along with their capacities and competitive advantages would spell the emergence of a rival, a global rival for both Europe and the world. No one wants this. That's why they'll do anything to tear us apart," Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin".

He refrained from mentioning the countries he had in mind.

"Those who took power pursued their self-interests. And what were they? Not even to get more from robbing the Ukrainian people blind, but hold on to what they had previously stolen. That was the main objective. So, where’s the cold hard cash? Pardon my slang, where is the money? In foreign banks," he emphasized.

Putin stressed that the owners of the foreign accounts were keen "to show that they are serving those who hold that money." Hence, the only thing that they trade in is Russophobia. Because some like dividing Ukraine and Russia, they believe it's a very important goal," he added.

Episode 2 of the video interview is available at starting from 09:30 Moscow time.