Claims that Moscow holds key to resolving crisis in Ukraine are Western ploy – President Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed as groundless claims that Moscow holds the solution to the Ukrainian crisis. “As for the key to resolving the problem being in Russia – it is a ploy of our Western partners which has no grounds to it,” he said at a press conference following his meeting with OSCE Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter. Putin said that Russia cannot be regarded as being party to the current conflict in Ukraine.

“As soon as our colleagues in Europe or the US drive one situation or another into a blind alley, they always say that now the key to resolving the problem lies in the hands of Moscow and it bears the entire responsibility,” the Russian leader added.

“As regards what will suit Russia and what won’t suit Russia. We are not a party to this conflict. The parties are inside Ukraine,” Putin said, Interfax reports.

However, Putin reaffirmed that Russia was still prepared to help with the Ukrainian settlement. “Russia is ready to make a strong contribution to the Ukrainian crisis settlement and influence the Geneva process in the most positive manner,” he said.

There are no Russian troops left on the Ukrainian border, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“They kept telling us they were concerned about our troops on the Ukrainian border – we pulled them [the troops] back; they are no longer on the Ukrainian border but are in their bases and on training ranges,” Putin said.

“This can be easily verified with modern means of reconnaissance. Everything can be seen,” Putin underscored.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opposes double standards in the attitude to the opposing sides in the Ukrainian conflict and says he understands people in southeastern Ukraine who try to defend their rights the way the rights have been defended on Maidan.

“I understand people in southeastern Ukraine who wonder why people in Kiev were allowed to do what they did – to stage a coup, to arm themselves and to seize administrative bodies, police and military units – why [Kiev] was permitted to do anything while they were still unable to guarantee their interests and lawful rights,” Putin said on Wednesday after negotiations with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter.

Putin backs Merkel’s proposal on roundtable meeting on Ukraine

Russia backs a proposal by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to establish direct dialogue between the current Kiev administration and representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine by holding a roundtable meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“I have recently talked to the federal chancellor of Germany and Mrs. Merkel suggested holding a roundtable meeting. We back this idea, we believe it’s a good proposal and we will do everything to promote it,” he told a press conference following negotiations with his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter.

Putin said such a dialogue should be direct, full-fledged, and equal.

The Russian president also said Russia promoted the release of the OSCE military observers in Ukraine and thus made a contribution to the de-escalation of tensions in the country, Interfax reports.

End of violence main condition for launching dialogue in Ukraine – President Putin

Russia demands that the current Kiev administration immediately halt all military operations in the southeastern regions of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the end of violence is an imperative condition for settling the Ukrainian crisis. “An imperative condition of the beginning of this dialogue is the end of any violence: the engagement of both the armed forces – which is absolutely unacceptable – and illegal armed units of radicalized elements,” Putin told a press conference.

“Russia demands that the Kiev administration immediately halt all military punitive operations in the southeastern regions of Ukraine,” the Russian president told a press conference following negotiations with his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter, Interfax reports.

The Russian president said the attempts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine using violence are not helping resolve the contradictions that now exist in the country, but, on the contrary, increase division.

Putin reaffirmed that Russia was still ready to contribute to the Ukrainian settlement. “Russia is ready to make a strong contribution to the Ukrainian crisis settlement and influence the Geneva process in the most positive manner,” he said.

Vladimir Putin says the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election is a step in the right direction but it will solve nothing unless all Ukrainian citizens understand the way their rights will be guaranteed.

Russia hails the release of the Donetsk region’s “people’s governor” Pavel Gubarev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“We hail the release of Mr. Gubarev. We expect the release of all political prisoners,” Putin told a press conference following negotiations with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine to postpone the referendum scheduled for May 11.

“We are asking representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine and federalization supporters to reschedule the referendum scheduled for May 11,” Putin told a press conference on Wednesday.

The developments in Ukraine are following a most unfavorable scenario, those who staged the coup have still not disarmed right-wing radical groups, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“I would want to stress once more that Russia believes that those who staged a coup d’etat in Kiev on February 22 and 23 are to blame for the crisis that broke out in Ukraine and is actively unfolding according to the most unfavorable scenario,” he said.

Those who staged the coup in Ukraine “have still not cared to disarm right-wing radical and nationalist elements,” Putin said.

“We should be looking for a way out of the situation that has evolved at this moment of time. We are all interested in that. First of all Ukraine itself, the Ukrainian people, of course,” he said.

A dialogue between the Kiev authorities and southeastern Ukraine is a key condition of the Ukrainian settlement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

He noted after a meeting with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter that Russia and the OSCE in large part saw eye-to-eye in the Ukrainian settlement issue.

“We believe that direct dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeastern Ukraine is a key settlement element,” the Russian president said.

The approaches of Russia and Switzerland to the Ukrainian crisis settlement coincide to a large extent, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“The discussion demonstrated that our approaches to methods of settling this crisis coincide to a considerable degree,” he told a press conference after negotiations with his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter, whose country is chairing the OSCE.

“All of us are interested in settling this crisis, settling it as soon as possible with due account of interests of all Ukrainian citizens irrespective of their place of residence,” the Russian leader said.

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