MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that the people of Donbass have experienced eight years of genocide.
"We are holding this meeting today at a dramatic moment when our army is conducting a special military operation in Ukraine and Donbass. Let me remind you that at the very beginning of it, in the morning of February 24, I openly and publicly declared the reasons for and the main purpose of Russia’s actions - assistance to our people in Donbass, who for nearly eight years been exposed to barbaric attacks, including blockade, large-scale punitive operations, terrorist attacks and artillery bombardments, in fact, real genocide," Putin said in his opening remarks at a meeting on socio-economic support for Russia’s regions.
"Why? In retaliation for their attempts to press for basic human rights to live in accordance with the laws and traditions of their ancestors, to use their mother tongue and to rear the children the way they wish," Putin said.
He stressed that Kiev had for eight years dodged compliance with the Minsk-2 package of agreements.
"The authorities in Kiev not just ignored and sabotaged the implementation of the Minsk package of measures for a peace settlement of the crisis for all these years. At the end of last year, they publicly refused to act on them," Putin said, adding that the Ukrainian authorities had in fact begun to translate into reality their plans for joining NATO.