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Putin Criticizes Ukraine At Crimea Security Council Meeting

August 19, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin has chaired a session of the Security Council in Crimea, the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014.

Putin told the August 19 gathering in Sevastopol that Ukraine attempted to carry out sabotage attacks in Crimea because Kyiv is "reluctant or unable" to implement the Minsk Accords.

Putin was referring to Moscow's claim earlier this month that it had thwarted a Ukrainian plot to carry out sabotage in the region.

Kyiv has denied the existence of any such plot and Western officials say Moscow has failed to produce convincing evidence of one. On August 17, European Union President Donald Tusk said Russia's account of the events was "unreliable."

Putin told the Security Council that "it looks like our partners in Kyiv have made a decision to aggravate tensions."

Nonetheless, Putin said Russia was not planning to cut off diplomatic relations with Ukraine "despite the unwillingness of…Kyiv to have full-fledged diplomatic relations at the level of ambassadors."

Russia was holding a military exercise in Crimea as Putin was speaking, training the logistics of bringing troops, armor, and equipment from Russia to Ukraine.

Putin will also address the Tavrida youth forum, an event that has been held annually since the annexation that assembles "young professionals" from across Russia.

It is Putin's fifth visit to the region since it was annexed.

Based on reporting by AFP, RIA-Novosti, and Interfax

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-putin-crimea -security-council/27933735.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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