New Cold War.org, Sept 4, 2015
The following remarks were made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to a press conference in Vladisvostok, Russia on September 4 while he was attending the Eastern Economic Forum. The forum is hosted by the Russian government and takes place from September 3 to 5.
The president arrived in Vladivostok from the Chinese capital Beijing where he attended a massive military parade on September 3 marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. A full report on the parade is here on RT.com.
CNN reports that the parade in Beijing was the first military parade since Xi Jinping became president of China in 2012. Western leaders boycotted the event, but the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, attended.
Concerning recent events in Ukraine, President Putin said the following:
Question: On the subject of Ukraine, we know the events that took place at the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev, when law enforcement officers were killed and demonstrators clashed with police. This took place as the Parliament voted on amendments to the Constitution. How do you assess these events and what is your prognosis?
Vladimir Putin: I remind you that in accordance with the Minsk Agreements, amendments were to be made to Ukraine’s Constitution, but this would be done through discussion, dialogue and coordination with the Donbass region and the unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. Unfortunately, the authorities in Kiev are not taking any such steps today and there is no dialogue and coordination on the amendments to Ukraine’s Constitution. This is of principle importance.
If we are talking about carrying out the Minsk Agreements, let me remind you that amendments to the Constitution must be discussed and settled with the Donbass region for a start, and second, the law on local government elections also needs to be settled with the Donbass region. Third, a law on amnesty is supposed to be passed, but this has not happened, and a law on special status for these regions is supposed to come into force. This law has been passed, but its entry into force has been postponed. These are four basic conditions for political settlement that our colleagues in Kiev have not implemented, unfortunately. They are simply not being carried out.
As for the tragic events that took place, I think this is not linked to amendments to the Constitution, because everything proposed today as amendments is purely declarative in nature and essentially changes nothing in the way state power in Ukraine is organised.
I will not go into the details now. You can talk with the experts. All of this is clear enough to see. Simply, what we are seeing today is the next round of political confrontation in Ukraine, and the amendments to the Constitution are being used only as a pretext for intensifying the political battle for power.
Question: What do you think will happen from here?
Vladimir Putin: That will depend not on us but on Ukraine itself, on the Ukrainian people and how long they are prepared to put up with this chaos.
I have already said that the fact that Ukraine has been placed under outside governance and foreigners hold all the key posts in the Government and now in key regions too is, I think, an insult to the Ukrainian people.
Are there really no decent, honest and competent managers in Ukraine? Of course, there are. I repeat; it does not depend on us. The way events develop in Ukraine depends on Ukraine itself and on the Ukrainian people.
Concerning the military parade he had just attended in Beijing, Putin said:
I think we are all witnessing attempts to erode the importance of World War II and its events, and sadly, this is happening in Europe and in Asia too, where we can see similar tendencies. It is therefore very important for everyone who fought Nazism and militarism to uphold in humanity’s consciousness the true meaning of what took place in the fight against Nazism and militarism.
I think that in holding such large-scale events to mark this anniversary of the end of World War II, our Chinese friends are moving in precisely this direction, the right direction, and are maintaining among their people a correct understanding of the significance of the fight against these things. The real sense in it all lies only in making sure that nothing like this ever happens again in human history.