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Iran Press TV

Russia's Putin slams West over backing 'coup d'etat' in Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:3PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly criticized the West's support for 'a coup d'etat' in Ukraine in 2014, blaming it for the bloodshed that plagued the country.

"Why support a coup d'etat in Ukraine? ... It is likely that the opposition, which is currently in power, would have come to power by democratic means," Putin said at a question and answer session during the the St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016 (SPIEF 2016) on Friday.

The Russian president blamed the way Ukraine's pro-Russian president was toppled for the bloodshed and ensuing violence.

Putin further said the 'coup' had scared the Russian-speaking people in the Crimean Peninsula and southeastern Ukraine.

Russia-West ties have been strained since Crimea joined Russia in a referendum in March 2014.

Crimean people voted to join Russia after rejecting the Western-backed government that took over power in Kiev in February 2014.

The United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine. Moscow, however, rejects having a hand in the crisis gripping the Eastern European state.

Ukraine's eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April 2014 to crush pro-Moscow protests there.

The crisis has left more than 9,000 people dead and over 20,000 others injured, according to the United Nations.

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