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Iran Press TV

Settlement of Ukraine crisis possible: Putin

Iran Press TV

Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:56AM GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed confidence that it is possible to find a way to settle the lingering crisis in Ukraine.

"Can one find a way out of this situation? Yes, I'm convinced there is a way," Putin said during a 30-minute interview with German network ARD on Sunday.

Putin censured the Ukrainian government for what he called its using force, rather than dialogue, against pro-Russia forces in the country's east.

"I'll say this bluntly: we're very concerned that the desire could arise to use ethnic cleansing. We're afraid about a drift towards neo-Nazism. There are people with swastikas on their sleeves running around and armed forces with SS symbols on the helmets... That's why we fear there's a drift in that direction. It would be a disaster for the people in Ukraine," he added.

Putin said he anticipated a bright future for Ukraine, although the country is in need of a framework so that all its minorities feel at home.

The Russian president further hailed Crimea's reunion with Russia as democratic and legitimate under international law, and slammed international reaction to the development as "completely inappropriate."

"I'm firmly convinced Russia did not violate international law in any way."

On March 16, Crimea's largely Russian-speaking residents voted in a referendum to break away from Ukraine and re-join Russia.

The Ukrainian government, the United States and the European Union rejected the referendum.

On March 21, President Putin signed into law the documents officially making Crimea part of the Russian territory. Putin said the move was carried out based on international law.

Located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, the Crimea Peninsula is of strategic value. Crimea is also of high importance economically as it is home to several natural gas fields, onshore and offshore, all connected to Ukraine's pipeline system.

The eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk also held elections on November 2 to choose their own leaders despite condemnation from Kiev and the West that such a move would undermine peace efforts in Ukraine.


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