| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Putin says Minsk Agreement on Ukraine exists no more

The Minsk Agreement on the Ukrainian settlement ceased to exist, as Russia recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, said the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Putin said Russia had struggled for eight years for the implementation of the accord while the Ukrainian authorities had stalled them.

“Now the Minsk agreements do not exist. Why should we implement them if we recognize the independence of these entities?” he questioned.

He insisted that the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk’s independence from Ukraine was “dictated by the unwillingness of Kyiv to implement the Minsk Agreement.”

“By the efforts of the current Kyiv authorities, everything was reduced to zero. The Minsk agreements were killed long before yesterday’s recognition of the people’s republics of Donbas. And not by us, not by representatives of these republics, but by the current Kyiv authorities,” he maintained.

The European Union was reluctant as well, unable to make Ukraine take necessary steps, so, there was no choice other than to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk, he said.

Putin confirmed that Russia will provide Donetsk and Luhansk military assistance, provided by the terms of the agreements, signed on Monday and ratified Tuesday by the Russian parliament.

He added that by this move Russia “makes it clear that, if necessary, it intends to fulfill its obligations.”

When the Russian troops will go to Donbas will depend on the developments on the ground, he said.

Putin said Russia recognized Donetsk and Luhansk in the borders they were as a part of Ukraine, but territorial disputes are supposed to be solved peacefully between Ukraine and the leadership of the separatists.

Commenting on Ukraine’s desire to become a nuclear power, Putin said he understood it was said especially for Russia, adding that the message was heard.

He said Ukraine has everything it needs except for a uranium enrichment system to start producing nuclear weapons, but for Ukraine it is “a problem easy to solve,” taking into account Ukraine’s support by countries, possessing the technology of the uranium enrichment.

However, Russia and Ukraine could normalize ties, for that Kyiv must abandon its desire to join NATO and recognize Crimea and Sevastopol as Russian territories, he said.

“So what should happen on both sides or on the part of Kyiv so that the situation, in our opinion, is considered settled in the long-term historical perspective and so that we can live in peace so that we are not talking about any conflicts, more armed?

“I’ll tell you this terrible secret. After all, there is nothing secret here. The first thing that everyone needs to do is to recognize the will of the people who live in Sevastopol and in Crimea.

“How is this expression of will worse than what happened in Kosovo? In no way. It’s just that the decisions were made by the parliament there, and here — in a nationwide referendum.

“Second. We have already spoken about this publicly many, many times, in fact, this is the subject of our sharp dispute with Washington and with NATO. We categorically object to Ukraine’s admission to NATO, because it poses a threat to us, and we have grounds for it. I have already said this many times in this hall.

“And in this regard, of course, we proceed from what many are saying, including in Western capitals, that the best solution to this issue would be for our colleagues in Western countries not to lose, as they say, faces, so that today’s Kyiv authorities themselves refuse to join NATO. In fact, they would have implemented the idea of neutrality,” he said. AA