MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia is willing to establish good-neighborly relations with Ukraine, but it is almost impossible due to the actions of the current administration in Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"What is the problem for us? We want to build good-neighborly relations with Ukraine and, moreover, we want it, I should say, at any cost and we are in fact doing everything possible in this regard," he said during his traditional end-of-the-year news conference in Moscow.
"However, how can we build these relations with the present-day administration [in Ukraine] considering what they are doing at the moment? This is practically impossible," the Russian president said.
Putin said that Moscow was ready to work with the Ukrainian authorities, "who are ready to build relations with Russia in a good-neighborly atmosphere."
"What’s happening with these authorities? We see extrajudicial killings, sanctions against their own citizens, which contradict the laws and the Constitution of Ukraine, or simply murders right in the street. Nobody is searching for these murderers."
The Russian president recalled the horrors of the 2014 Odessa Trade Union House tragedy.
"Did anyone lift a finger to find the criminals? Not at all," he continued. "Therefore, we have no chances to team up and work with those, who want to establish relations [with Russia], they are being eliminated. These are the people, who want to work with us. This is the problem."
On May 2, 2014, Ukrainian nationalist extremists, including members of the Pravy Sektor organization (or Right Sector, outlawed in Russia) torched the Trade Union House in the city of Odessa, where protesters against Ukraine's coup had found refuge.
According to official estimates, the violence killed 48 people, most of whom lost their lives in the Trade Union House tragedy, while 240 more people were reported to have been injured in the inferno and its aftermath.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his customary year-end news conference on December 23. Only 507 reporters were invited this year since restrictive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are in effect.
In 2020, Putin's press conference ran for roughly four-and-a-half hours, with the Russian head of state having fielded 60 questions.