MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that, should the Verkhovna Rada pass the bill that excludes Russians from indigenous peoples of Ukraine, this document will have consequences, comparable to that of weapons of mass destruction.
Putin noted that this bill, introduced by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, could be explained only by the unfriendly attitude of the modern Ukrainian leadership.
"This is incomprehensible. You see, Russian people lived there since the dawn of time, and now they are being declare non-indigenous," the head of state said during the Direct Line Wednesday. "What is this, what would this lead to? It would force some people to relocate. But where could they go - [they are tied to] their apartment, their job and so on. Which means they will have to re-register so that they are not treated as second-class people. This will result in reduction of the overall number of Russians".
"You know, this is comparable from the standpoint of consequences to the use of some kind of weapon of mass destruction," the President underscored.
He noted that "narrow-minded people and extreme nationalists exist everywhere".
"We have such people, and Ukraine has as well; they act out of pure heart, but not out of high intelligence, and the result of their actions are devastating," the head of state said.
The bill on indigenous peoples
On May 18, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced the introduction of a bill on indigenous people in order to protect their rights. According to the document, an indigenous people is an autochthonous ethnicity, formed on the Ukrainian territory, which carries a distinctive language and culture, has traditional social, cultural or representative structures, considers itself an indigenous people of Ukraine, is an ethnic minority within the population, and does not have its own state entity beyond Ukraine. This definition means that Russians cannot be considered an indigenous people in Ukraine.