16:37 Oct. 12, 2016
Putin on Russia's role in Donbas conflict, Minsk implementation
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow had to protect the Russian-speaking population in Donbas and Crimea, which could be seen as his confirmation that the Kremlin is involved in the war in Ukraine's East.
Putin made this statement during investment forum ‘Russia calls!', Ukrainian news agencies report.
'I have to stress, we were forced to protect the Russian-speaking population in Donbas, were forced to react to Crimean people's desire to return to Russia', he said.
Putin also accused the United States of 'financing' Maidan.
'Our American partners don't really hide they were mostly behind this, they were financing the radical opposition, and led to the unconstitutional change of the government, even though Yanukovych had signed all demands and had been ready to hold extra election', the Russian President claimed.
He also said that situation in Donbas would not progress without Ukraine's implementation of the political section of the Minsk agreements.
‘They keep saying that the political part cannot be implemented, because combat is ongoing in the conflict region. But on September 9 rebels said they wouldn't even respond to Ukrainian armed force's attacks', Putin said.
He complained that Ukraine refuses to hold ‘direct talks' with the militants.
‘If somebody wants the agreements to be implemented, all sides of the conflict should be influenced, and Kyiv government in the first place', Putin said.
‘We cannot implement Rada-approved law on special status for Donbas, instead of Kyiv. I cannot sign the Rada-approved amnesty law, instead of Ukrainian President', he added.
Ukraine has refused to begin the political implementation of the Minsk agreements and hold elections in militant-controlled Donbas, until Russia withdraws its troops from the region and provides permanent ceasefire.