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Putin offers West to recognize Crimea, Kiev - to reject accession to NATO

The situation around Ukraine could be resolved with demilitarization of the republic, the Russian President noted

MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. The situation around Ukraine could be resolved with demilitarization of the republic and its rejection of accession to NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, answering reporters’ questions in the wake of the talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

The head of state underscored that Russia will provide military aid to Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), adding the deployment of forces in Donbass will not be announced right now.

Ukrainian settlement

In order to settle the situation, democratic states must first and foremost recognize the will of the residents of the Crimean Peninsula on reconciliation with Russia.

"The first thing that everybody must do is to recognize the will of the people who live in Sevastopol and in Crimea," he said.

Next, Moscow offers Ukraine to voluntarily drop its plans to join NATO.

"We act out of what many people are saying, including in the Western capitals: that the best resolution of this issue for our colleagues to preserve their faces would be Kiev authorities’ voluntary rejection of accession to NATO. Effectively, they would implement the concept of neutrality."

Russia demands that the West "stopped pumping the current Kiev authorities with modern weapons."

"Therefore, the main point - is demilitarization of the modern Ukraine to a certain degree, because this is the only objectively controllable factor, which could be supervised and which could be reacted to."

Moscow cannot allow restoration of Ukraine’s nuclear power status, which Ukrainian authorities talk about.

"Even acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine means a strategic threat for us," he said.

Fate of Minsk Agreements

The Minsk Agreements indeed no longer exist after the recognition of the Donbass republics, but Russia is not to blame, Putin said.

"The Minsk Agreements were killed long before the yesterday’s recognition of the Donbass people’s republics. Not by us, and not by representatives of these republics, but by the current Kiev authorities," he underscored.

Moscow itself was interested in the implementation of these agreements, partially authored by Putin himself, "because it is a result of a compromise."

Donbass borders

Russia recognized DPR and LPR within the borders, stipulated in their constitutions, meaning within "Donetsk and Lugansk regions while they were part of Ukraine."

"But we expect, and I would like to underscore it, that all disputed issues will be resolved in talks between the current Kiev authorities and the leadership of these republics," Putin noted.

Moscow will provide Lugansk and Donetsk with "corresponding aid, including military one," Putin said, adding that this clause is written down in the signed and ratified treaties.

At the same time, the permission to use armed forces abroad, provided by the Russian Federation Council yesterday, does not mean that Russian forces are already heading to Donbass.

"I did not say that the forces will go there right now after our meeting here," Putin noted.

Moscow’s further actions will depend on the "actual situation on the ground," Putin said, adding that "it is impossible to predict any specific scenario of possible actions yet."