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Putin discloses he spoke with Obama amid 2014 coup in Ukraine

According to the Russian leader, "there was an opportunity for a civilized way out of the situation" in Ukraine at that time

MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that that he spoke by phone with then-US President Barack Obama on February 21, 2014, amid a coup in Ukraine.

The president said his vis-a-vis supported the agreement between the government and the opposition at the time.

In his speech at a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Putin talked about the timeline of the events in Ukraine. The president said that armed clashes provoked by the opposition began in Kiev on February 18, 2014.

"On February 20, unknown snipers opened fire on protesters and law enforcement officers. That is, those who were preparing the armed coup did everything to push the situation even more toward violence, toward radicalization, and those people who were on the streets of Kiev in those days and expressed dissatisfaction with the then government, were deliberately used for their own selfish purposes as cannon fodder," he said. "They are doing exactly the same today by carrying out the mobilization and sending people to slaughter."

The president said that on February 21, an agreement was signed between then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition about the settlement of the political crisis. Its guarantors were official representatives of Germany, Poland and France.

"Today I will say more, about one more important fact, which was not made public before either, namely that literally in the same hours on February 21, a conversation with my American vis-a-vis [Barack Obama] took place on the initiative of the American side," he went on to say. "The essence was as follows: the American leader unequivocally supported the Kiev agreement between the government and the opposition. Moreover, he called it a real breakthrough, a chance for the Ukrainian people so that the violence would not cross all conceivable borders."

In addition, Putin noted that during the conversation with Obama "the following formula was basically worked out jointly: Russia will try to persuade the then-Ukrainian president to behave with as much restraint as possible, not to use the military and law enforcement agencies against the protesters, while the US, respectively, <...> will call the opposition <...> to order, urge them to vacate administrative buildings, make the crowd on the streets calm down."

"All this was supposed to create conditions for life in the country to return to normal, to the constitutional, lawful environment. And in general, we agreed to work together for the sake of a stable, peaceful, normally developing Ukraine," the president said.

Lost chance

According to Putin, "there was an opportunity for a civilized way out of the situation" in Ukraine at that time.

"The agreement envisaged a return to the parliamentary-presidential form of government, a special presidential election, the formation of a government of national confidence, as well as the withdrawal of law enforcement forces from the center of Kiev and the surrender of weapons by the opposition," he said. "I will add that the Verkhovna Rada passed a law banning criminal prosecution of the protesters. This agreement, which made it possible to stop the violence and return the situation to the constitutional boundaries, took place. This agreement was signed, albeit in Kiev, but the West prefers to forget it."

"We kept our word completely. Then-Ukrainian President Yanukovich, who did not really plan to use the military, <...> did not do so and, moreover, even pulled additional police units out of Kiev," the president said.

Putin also noted that during the events in Kiev in the winter of 2013-2014 Russia "more than once offered its assistance in the constitutional resolution of the crisis, which was organized, as a matter of fact, from outside.".