SOCHI, October 27. /TASS/. Russia and Ukraine were first separated and then set against each other, but the two countries will find a way out of the crisis on their own, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while answering questions at the final meeting of the international discussion club Valdai on Thursday.
"First we were separated and then set against each other. We are partially to blame for that ourselves. Now we are to find a way out of this situation on our own," Putin said. "I am certain that common sense will prevail and we will find a way out."
Putin said he had always believed that Russians and Ukrainians were one people.
"There are individuals of extreme, nationalist views in both Russia and Ukraine, but in general a majority constitute one people, a people sharing a common history and culture, who are very close ethnically.
Russia ready to invite new countries to Normandy format
Putin said Russia is not opposed to other countries, including the US, joining the Normandy format.
"Yes, the discussions haven’t been very effective lately, I agree with that. But there is no alternative," he said. "Do we need to involve more countries [in the Normandy quartet]? Russia’s position is that anybody can be included, our US partners, in particular."
The president added that at present all the four parties had agreed to work with the US as well. "We take Washington’s position into account," he noted.
The Russian leader also spoke about the issues discussed at the recent Normandy Quartet meeting in Berlin.
He pointed to one of the provisions of the Minsk agreements envisaging that Kiev should provide special status to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) but it hadn’t been done yet.
According to Putin, to implement this provision the Berlin meeting’s participants decided to draw up a detailed roadmap.
"I would like to emphasize the role of the [German] Federal Chancellor [Angela Merkel] as she had come up with arguments to persuade the meeting’s participants that we could retain the previously agreed position instead of changing the decisions we had made before every time we meet after a year’s break," the Russian president stressed.
He added that the parties had agreed on almost all of the security provisions. "But we agreed on very few humanitarian provisions," Putin said. "The blockade of these territories (DPR, LPR) remains, the situation there is very difficult."
Putin says he was the only one in the Normandy Four to support Poroshenko's idea of police mission in Donbass.
"I’ll tell you about my position on the issue," he said as he answered questions from participants in the Valdai International Discussions Club. "President Pyotr Poroshenko came up with an initiative for a so-called police mission during the possible future elections in Donetsk and Lugansk and I’m the only one who supported him."
"The thing is I don’t call it a police mission because other parties to the process object to it, not because of reluctance to help Pyotr Alexeyevich (Poroshenko) but because the OSCE has never done anything of the kind yet," Putin said.
Putin said Kiev’s unwillingness to communicate with leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics is illogical and counterproductive.
"The Ukrainian side insisted on having signatures from the leaders of these republics there (under the Minsk agreements). And we got these signatures," Putin said. "And now they refuse to speak with them. There is absolutely no logic in this. This is, of course, counterproductive," Putin said.