MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that it is Ukrainian leadership - not Ukrainian people - that is unfriendly to Russia.
"I do not consider the Ukrainian people unfriendly. I have said it many times and can reiterate it once again. I believe that Ukrainians and Russians are one people," the President said during the Direct Line Wednesday, answering a question, why Ukraine is not included in the list of unfriendly states.
He noted that many ethnicities cherish their unity.
"See, Jews come to Israel from Africa, from Europe, from other countries; those coming from Africa are even black. People coming from Europe speak Yiddish, not Hebrew. They may appear different, but the Jewish people cherish its unity nevertheless," Putin said, providing the Russian ethnicity of Mordvins as an example of an indigenous people.
"[The Mordvins] include Erzya, Moksha, and Shoksha, I believe, as well as other groups, but all of them consider themselves Mordva, or Mordvins. They speak languages from one group, but they do not understand each other - their languages differ more than Russian and Ukrainian ones. But they cherish their unity," the President noted. "Why? They are smart, and they understand that division would not lead to anything good, it would only weaken the ethnicity".
Putin reiterated that he does not consider the Ukrainian people unfriendly.
"No, not even close, we are one!" he claimed. "However, the Ukrainian leadership, the modern leadership of the modern Ukraine is clearly unfriendly to us. This is clear as day".