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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow to Continue Protecting Rights of Compatriots Abroad – Putin

RIA Novosti

17:26 01/07/2014

MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) — Russia intends to continue to actively defend the rights of its compatriots abroad and will resort to all available means for the purpose, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

"I want everyone to understand [that] our country would continue to actively defend the rights of Russians, our compatriots abroad, [and will] use all available means for the purpose — from political and economic [measures] to humanitarian operations permitted by the international law," Putin said at a meeting with Russian ambassadors and permanent envoys.

President Putin stressed that what happened in Ukraine is the climax of negative trends in global affairs accumulated over the past years, and that Russia has warned its partners about this build-up.

Amid the ongoing special operation of Kiev-backed forces against independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine, Russia fears Kiev's crackdown is verging on ethnic cleansing.

Russia's OSCE envoy Andrei Kelin said the Ukrainian Army is "cleansing Donbas of its Russian-speaking population, rather than of fictitious Russian saboteurs."

In late June, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov described the hostilities in eastern Ukraine as a "civil war steadfastly heading toward genocide."

Moscow first acted to defend its compatriots, when nationalistic leaders came to power in Kiev following a regime change in late February, threatening the rights of the Russian-speaking population of the country.

The Crimean peninsula, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, voted for reunification with Russia. Following the respective referendum in mid-March, anti-government rallies swept other regions of Ukraine, where independence supporters refused to recognize Kiev's interim government, and held similar referendums on self-determination, ultimately setting off violent clashes with government forces.



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