Response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to certain statements of the Russian President Vladimir Putin during his “Direct Line” telecast on April 17:
In Ukraine we regard several statements made by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during his “Direct Line” telecast on April 17 with disappointment and concern. Many statements are in direct contradiction to the assurances given by the Russian side during the Geneva negotiations regarding its interest in deescalating the situation in Ukraine and Ukrainian-Russian relations.
Contradictory statements made by the Russian side completely discredit its stated position that Russia, supposedly, has not been involved in events in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the eastern regions of Ukraine.
For example, on March 4, V. Putin categorically denied that any Russian troops were involved in blocking Ukrainian army units in Crimea, but now, on April 17, he admitted that behind the so-called Crimean self-defense units stood Russian soldiers, who, it turns out, were helping to conduct an “honest” exercise of what the Russian side calls a referendum. This recognition by the Russian president finally put an end to the myth of so-called “legitimate self-determination” of the people of Crimea.
After this admission, the next step of the Russian side should be the recognition of the undeniable fact that the referendum was conducted at the barrel of machine guns of a foreign country interested in the results. This exercise has a specific name — it is called annexation, with all the resulting international legal consequences.
The scornful tone, the imperial attitude, and the pseudo-historical conclusions that made up Putin’s statements reveal the true attitude of the Kremlin leadership toward the citizens of Ukraine as a people. The statements of the Russian leader himself that these are “second class” people fully demonstrate the worth of all the cynical assurances of “friendship” and “brotherhood.”
Putin’s offensive statements regarding representatives of the mining profession are completely unacceptable. Explaining why miners come to vacation in Crimea, he said they only need “to gulp down some booze and then hit the beach.” We would like to remind the president of Russia that each year tens of thousands of miners vacationed in Crimea — not only from Ukraine but from Russia as well.
They came to vacation there because the vast majority, living in poverty in Russia, had the opportunity in Ukrainian Crimea to enjoy an affordable, quality vacation and experience the true hospitality of Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Russians and the other nationalities who live there. By annexing Crimea, and, in fact, by destroying its international tourism potential, Russia has now deprived them of this possibility.
Ukrainians have always supported and continue to support friendly and equal relations with the Russian people that are based on principles of mutual respect. However, it is this very “pseudo-brotherly” attitude on the part of the Russian powers throughout many centuries that have forced Ukrainians to fight for their rights, for their independence, for their national dignity.
To love one’s own country and to fight for it is not fascism and it is not neo-Nazism, as V. Putin claims. Fascism and neo-Nazism is the attempt to conquer, subjugate and humiliate another nation, another independent state. This is exactly what, with great treachery, Russia is doing in Ukraine today.
We are convinced that not all Russians support the current declarations and actions of the Kremlin, particularly in Ukraine. We believe that the voice of a real, civilized, and democratic Russia will resonate more and more.
The Ukrainian statement is posted on the Ministry website:
Translated by Anna Mostovych