BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – The current Ukrainian authorities represent the war party and, as long as they are in charge of the country, the crisis will continue, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Published on: Dec 2, 2018 @ 21:37
The Russian leader was disappointed with the recent naval provocation in the Kerch Strait and the internal conflict in Ukraine and noted that the current Ukrainian authorities are not interested in resolving the crisis.
“It’s the war party and as long as it maintains its power, all tragedies and similar wars will continue,” Putin said.
He added that Kiev manipulates the issue of alleged foreign aggression because “through war it is easier to hide its own failures in economic and social policy.”
“They are not the culprits, but an external aggressor, who is also to blame for the poor as nothing fits into the state budget and they have to beg and borrow from the International Monetary Fund and other sponsors endorsing the responsibility and burden for future generations,” he commented ironically.
At a press conference in the Argentine capital, Putin also commented on the issue of martial law enacted in Ukraine after the Kerch Strait incident.
“The worst thing is that they have decreed martial law in 10 regions, but only in those where the current president does not have a lot of support and his policy is not unanimously supported,” Putin said, “for whom the Ukrainian authorities divide the country according to criterion of “reliability”.
The Russian leader reiterated that Kiev takes advantage of martial law to limit civil rights and political activity in the country before the presidential elections.
Putin also told reporters he did not avoid negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart Pyotr Poroshenko.
“As for high-level contacts, I do not reject them,” he said, recognizing that there are difficulties in the negotiations “because it is not clear what to say, nothing is done”.
The Russian president also answered questions about a possible exchange of Ukrainian seamen arrested along with their three ships on November 25, after entering an area provisionally closed in the Russian Black Sea waters without the permission of the authorities, and headed towards to the Straits of Kerch.
Ukraine has not yet raised the issue, Putin said, noting that the investigation is ongoing.
“We have to confirm the provocation by the Ukrainian authorities and document it in legal acts,” he said.
For his part, Putin emphasized that the Russian Coast Guard acted according to the rules, just as any other country’s border guards would act when their borders were violated “so blatantly.”
He said that after the intrusion of Ukrainian seamen into the territorial waters of Russia, the Russian Coast Guard suggested that they call a technician and quay from the port of Kerch.
As is clear from the logbooks, he added, the purpose of Ukrainian ships was to go unnoticed in Russian territorial waters and the Kerch Strait, which was also confirmed “in the testimonies of detained sailors.”
So he concluded, it’s a “premeditated provocation.” Putin also told the media that he set the chronology of events to his G20 partners.
Asked about a possible Moscow response to Ukrainian restrictions on entry into the country of men with Russian nationality between 16 and 60 years, the Russian leader promised that no action will be taken against Ukrainian citizens. On the contrary, your stay in the country and even the processing of Russian nationality will be facilitated, if anyone wishes.
Ukrainian navy provoking Russia
On 25 November, three Ukrainian navy ships – Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yany Kapu – crossed the Russian border, violating Articles 19 and 21 of the UN Convention on Maritime Law. The ships entered the water zone temporarily closed and carried out dangerous maneuvers for several hours, without reacting to the demands of the Russian vessels that accompanied the Ukrainian ships.
A decision was made to use weapons. All Ukrainian ships were detained approximately 20km off the Russian coast and 50km from the usual place of passage of ships in the Kerch Strait below the Crimean bridge.
During the incident, three Ukrainian military personnel were slightly injured. They received medical care and are not at risk of losing their life. In turn, Russia has opened a criminal case for breach of the border.
On November 26, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko approved the proposal of the National Security and Defense Council to introduce martial law in the country after the incident in the Kerch Strait.
Martial law entered into force on Ukrainian territory from November 26, ending on January 25, 2019, according to the decree. It still needs approval by the Supreme Rada (Ukrainian parliament).