Russia will always protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine and those Ukrainians who feel a close connection with Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the conclusion of high level meetings in Austria, reports Ukrainska Pravda, June 24, citing Russian Interfax.
“The cancellation of the decision (by the Federation Council regarding the use of the Armed Forces in Ukraine) does not at all mean that we do not intend to pay attention to what is going on (in Ukraine),” he said.
Putin stressed that Russia will always defend “ethnic Russians in Ukraine and those Ukrainians who feel an inseparable ethnic, cultural, and linguistic connection with Russia, and who feel they are a part of the larger Russian world,” he said.
“And naturally, we will not only pay close attention, but we will also react accordingly. We expect that armed force will not be necessary,” Putin added.
Putin explained that Russia wants to create conditions for peace talks in Ukraine and for that reason he asked the Upper House of Parliament to revoke the resolution authorizing the use of Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
However, Putin added that he hoped “the peace process will evolve in the direction of resolving questions on the legal rights of citizens who live in the east (of Ukraine).”
“We need to talk about amendments to the constitution, about how people will live there, and how they will be assured of their rights,” he said.
Translation: Anna Mostovych