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Poroshenko tells Putin of plan to immediately stop bloodshed in Ukraine

Putin says he was asked to meet with Ukraine’s new president by German and French leaders

DEAUVILLE (France), June 06 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian President-elect Pyotr Poroshenko briefly told Russian President Vladimir Putin of his plan to “immediately stop bloodshed” in Ukraine, Putin told journalists Friday.

“He [the president-elect] has a plan in this respect; it is up to him to say what kind of plan it is… he told me a couple of words about it,” the Russian leader said. “But it’s one thing to say it here in France and quite another thing to state that in his own country.”

Putin hailed Ukrainian President-elect Petr Poroshenko’s commitment to settle the crisis in his country. “I liked his mindset, so, if it happens this way, there will be conditions to develop our relations, in other areas as well,” Putin told journalists on Friday.

Commenting on the Ukrainian new authorities’ plans of settling the situation in the eastern regions of the country, Putin noted, “I cannot say for sure how these plans will be implemented, but I liked the general attitude, it seemed right to me, so, if it happens this way, there will be conditions to develop our relations, in other areas, including economy.

“It’s important to stop the punitive actions in the southeast without a delay,” russian president told reporters. “That’s the only way to create conditions for the start of a real process of negotiations with the supporters of federalization,” Putin said. “No one has yet said anything concrete to the people (living in the southeast of Ukraine) and nothing practical has been offered to them,” he said. “People there simply don’t understand how they’ll live in the future and what the parameters of the new Constitution will look like,” Putin said.

Putin has not ruled put that Russian will render humanitarian aid to Ukraine's south-east. "I know [about a difficult situation] and we are pondering it," he told reporters.

Russia is not a party to the Ukrainian conflict, so the Kiev authorities and federalization supporters in Ukraine’s Southeast should be the parties to the Ukrainian talks, Putin said. 

Economic issues

Putin said Friday he did not discuss the problem of Ukraine’s payments for natural gas when he met with Poroshenko. "But I know Gazprom and its Ukrainian partner corporation are close to a final agreement,” he said. “We don’t rule out we could meet the Ukrainians halfway and support them if, of course, they paid out their debts accumulated of late,” Putin said.

Russia will be compelled to enact economic protection measures to defend its market if Ukraine signs the association agreement with the EU. “As soon as that accord is signed, we’ll start taking measures to defend our economy,” Putin said. 

He indicated he had spoken about the possible aftermaths of the Ukraine-EU agreement with the British Prime Minister, French President, German Federal Chancellor, and Poroshenko himself. He recalled in the light of it that Russia and Ukraine have zero customs duty in bilateral trade today under provisions of a CIS trade zone. The problem is that the AA “rules out Ukraine’s participation in any other formats except association with the EU.”

“But even if we maintain the zero customs duties and Ukraine opens up its market to European commodities, all the European imports will flood into our customs territory and that’s something we can’t admit because we didn’t make arrangements on it with Europe,” Putin said. “It’s not the sanctions of some kind we’ll have to enact then, it’s the regime of the most favored trade partner which is quite common in international trade,” he said. “This will be a harsh test for Ukraine, I’m afraid, because Ukrainian commodities will hardly be competitive on the Russian market then,” Putin said adding however he hoped the incumbent Ukrainian leadership realized this.

As many as five to six million out of Ukraine’s 18-million employable population work in Russia enjoying privileged terms of sojourn as compared with other foreigners, Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists on Friday. “If Ukraine joins the European Union, we will have to think how to settle this aspect of our relations,” he stressed. 

“We have a special sojourn regime for Ukrainian citizens in Russia,” Putin noted. “The regime is even more privileged than the one for citizens of countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, the citizens of which are allowed to stay in Russia for a month, while Ukrainian citizens can stay, or, as a matter of fact, work in Russia for three months without registration. And what do they do when this three-month term expires? They do not even leave Russia - they just send their passports to Ukraine for being stamped.”

“Well, there are many questions which require a serious approach. I hope contacts with the European Commission will be resumed,” Putin added.

Russia is awaiting proposals on resumption of consultations on resolution of Ukrainian economic problems from the European Commission, Putin told journalists. “So far, there are no consultations and I told this to the British prime minister, the German Chancellor and the French president,” he said. “We are waiting for their proposals because we have repeatedly come out with initiatives on that matter, but so far there are none [of proposals]. Everything has been said, we seem to have discussed everything, so, let us wait and see how the situation develops".

Hollande and Merkel asked Putin to meet with Poroshenko 

Putin said he had been asked to meet with Ukraine’s President Elect Petr Poroshenko by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. “Anyway, I did not plan hiding away from anyone,” Putin said on Friday, adding that his conversation with Poroshenko had lasted for 15 minutes.

“President of France Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked me to have this meeting with Mr. Poroshenko in their presence,” he said. “The meeting was organized so to say on the sidelines of the celebrations: we sat down at a table and spoke for 15 minutes.”

Russian President does not think that there are any contradictions in his relations with Western leaders. "I don't quite understand what kind of contradictions you are speaking about," Putin said, answering the reporters' questions. 

Putin said he has discussed with the British and German leaders settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, and the most detailed conversation took place with French leader Francois Hollande.

“The most substantial meeting yesterday was with the president of the French Republic; we spoke in more detail about bilateral contacts, economic ties and international problems, including the Iranian nuclear problem, on Syria and some other issues of mutual interest,” Putin told journalists. “It seems to me that the opinion exchange [with Hollande] was very useful,” he added.

With Cameron, the Russian president spoke of “the most urgent problems…mainly about the settlement of the situation in Ukraine”. Putin’s conversation with Merkel lasted about an hour and, according to Putin, was devoted to similar topics.