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Putin Has Dialogue with Media about His Article ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians’

July 14 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Speaking to reporters in St. Petersburg on July 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in an extensive exchange about on why he wrote his July 12 feature “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” posted on the Kremlin website. Yesterday he made the point that it was because the “anti-Russian project” began in Ukraine and that the Ukrainian government has suppressed those forces who want to improve relations with Russia. In response to a question raised in his “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,” the President suggested he would write such an article. The idea which is “slightly more than just an article,” emerged, “Because the conditions that are taking shape are fundamentally different from what they were only recently. There is every indication that an anti-Russia agenda is being pursued, and of course, this is bound to be of concern to us,” Putin said.

The article not aimed only at Russians and Ukrainians.

“I do not divide people into ‘them’ and ‘us.’ In the article I also write that we are a common entity, and so it is intended for all of us, including those who live in modern Russia, those who live in modern Ukraine and the sponsors of the current political leadership of Ukraine. They should also know what we are and what we think about each other. I believe that this is important for all of us,” said the President. He responded to a later question that “If they want to have a discussion, I think they should take a break, read the article carefully, analyze it and review some of the archival material. I think this is exactly what they will do and they will find something to talk about. When I say ‘they’ I mean the political leadership of today’s Ukraine.”

He also advised:

“It does not matter to us how a neighboring state—in this case, Ukraine—will shape its foreign policy and its roadmap. What matters is ... that nobody creates problems or threats for us. What we see, however, is that military development of this territory is starting, which is worrying. ... And I think that our concerns will eventually be heard by those involved. After all, it is not Ukraine’s doing. It is happening on Ukrainian territory and people are being used. I really do hope that our concerns will be taken seriously.”

As for gas transit he said:

“Russia, Gazprom, we signed a five-year contract to deliver a certain amount of Russian natural gas to our consumers in Europe via Ukraine. The Normandy format [raised by Zelensky in Berlin] ... has nothing to do with commercial projects like Nord Stream or Nord Stream 2 or the transit of our gas through the territory of Ukraine. Despite all the current difficulties, Russia undertook certain obligations under this contract and will fully meet them.”

In part of his earlier response, he explained:

“However, there are also certain circumstances that compelled me to present this material today. After all, there are many people in Ukraine, millions of people who want to restore relations with Russia. ... There are also political forces that advocate normalization in this respect. But, judging by what we see, they are being deprived of any opportunity to implement their political goals. They are simply removed from the political scene through non-systemic, illegal methods. Some are simply killed in the streets, and then after this kind of crime nobody looks for the criminal. Or people are burned alive, like the tragic events in Odessa,”

referring to the neo-Nazi arson attack on the trade union building in May 2014.

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