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Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted today that agreements will have to be reached on Ukraine, and reiterated that he has said on many occasions that Russia is ready for it, but expressed doubts about the West’s stance after the failure of the Minsk peace accords for Donbas eight years ago.
Speaking at a press conference after participating in Bishkek in a summit of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Putin claimed that he was “disappointed” by a recent interview of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Der Spiegel magazine, which states that the politician believed that the signing of the Minsk agreements would buy Ukraine time to better defend itself against a Russian attack.
“Honestly, it was completely unexpected for me, it’s disappointing,” Putin said about it.
“Frankly speaking, I did not expect to hear this from the former chancellor, because I always proceeded from the fact that Germany’s leadership behaves sincerely with us,” he added.
“Yes, of course, (she) was on the Ukrainian side, she supported it, but still it seemed to me that the German leadership always sincerely sought an agreement on the principles we agreed on, which were achieved, including within the framework of the Minsk process,” he maintained.
The president added that Merkel’s statements “only prove that we did everything right from the point of view of launching a special military operation,” referring to the war campaign Russia launched on February 24 in Ukraine.
He claimed that the now former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he “would not fulfill” the Minsk agreements.
“I expected the other participants in this process to be honest with us. It turns out that they also deceived us. The goal was just to pump Ukraine with weapons and prepare it for hostilities. Maybe all this should have started earlier,” he said, referring to Russia’s military intervention.
Putin noted that the problem now is that of trust, which “is already almost at zero” because of such statements, because the question arises “how to negotiate, about what, is it possible to negotiate with anyone, and where are the guarantees?”
“At the same time, in the end we will have to negotiate,” he admitted.
“I have said many times that we are ready for those agreements, we are open, but this makes us think about who we are dealing with,” he emphasized.
I have said many times that we are ready for these agreements, we are open, but this makes us think. Think about who we are dealing with,” the state incumbent said.
He also reiterated that the participants in the settlement process will have to accept “reality”.
“One way or another, all participants in this process will have to agree with the realities that are developing on the ground,” said Putin, who has repeatedly stated that this means Ukraine accepting the annexation not only of Crimea by Russia, but now also of the Kherson, Zaporiyia, Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Russia does not control any of these four southern and eastern Ukrainian provinces in their entirety and their annexation is considered illegal by the West and Kyiv, which has already said it will fight until it has liberated all occupied territory.
Putin did not acknowledge the setbacks suffered by the Army in the last nine months of the military campaign on the ground – with the withdrawal first from northern Kyiv, then from Kharkov, and later also from northern Kherson, but assured that “there are no problems at present”.
“The special military operation is ongoing. The situation is stable. There is no doubt there and there are no problems currently,” he said.