Viktor Yanukovych will make a statement in the middle of Tuesday, March 11, according to a source close to the former Ukranian leader.
“The speech will take place in Rostov-on-Don, the exact time and place are to follow,” the source said.
Russia will not go to war with the people of Ukraine, but will use its troops to protect citizens, if radicals with clout in Kiev now try to use violence against Ukrainian civilians, particularly ethnic Russians, Putin told the media.
Putin cited the actions of radical activists in Ukraine, including the chaining of a governor to a stage as public humiliation and the killing of a technician during an opposition siege of the Party of Regions HQ, as justification for Russia to be concerned for the lives and well-being of people in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Incidents like those are why Russia reserves the option of troop deployment on the table.
“If we see this lawlessness starting in eastern regions, if the people ask us for help – in addition to a plea from a legitimate president, which we already have – then we reserve the right to use all the means we possess to protect those citizens. And we consider it quite legitimate,” he said.
Russia is not planning to go to war with the Ukrainian people, Putin stressed, when a journalist asked if he was afraid of war. But Russian troops would prevent any attempts to target Ukrainian civilians, should they be deployed.
“We are not going to a war against the Ukrainian people,” he said. “I want you to understand it unambiguously. If we do take a decision, it would only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. Let anybody in the military dare, and they’d be shooting their own people, who would stand up in front of us. Shoot at women and children. I’d like to see anyone try and order such a thing in Ukraine.”
Putin dismissed the notion that the uniformed armed people without insignia who are currently present in Crimea are Russian soldiers. He said they are members of the Crimean self-defense forces and that they are no better equipped and trained than some radical fighters who took part in the ousting of Yanukovich.
He assured that the surprise military drills in Russia’s west which ended on Tuesday had nothing to do with the Ukrainian situation.
Asked about criticism of Russia over its stance on Ukraine, Putin dismissed the accusations that Russia is acting illegitimately. He stated that even if Russia does use force in Ukraine, it would not violate international law.
At the same time he accused the United States and its allies of having no regard to legitimacy when they use military force in pursuit of their own national interests.
“When I ask them ‘Do you believe you do everything legitimately,’ they say ‘Yes.’ And I have to remind them about the US actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where they acted either without any UN Security Council mandate or through perverting a mandate, as was the case in Libya,” Putin said.
“Our partners, especially in the United States, always clearly formulate for themselves their geopolitical and national interests, pursue them relentlessly and then drag the rest of the world in, using the principle ‘You are either with us or against us.’ And harass those who refuse to be dragged in,” he added.
As for the sanctions Russia faces over Ukraine, Putin said those threatening them should think of the consequences to themselves if they follow that path. In an interconnected world a country may hurt another country if it wishes, but it would be damaged too.
Threats are counterproductive in this situation, Putin warned. He added that if G8 members choose not to go to Sochi for a planned G8 summit, that would be up to them.
Putin stressed that the Ukrainian people had a legitimate reason to protest against Yanukovich’s power, considering the overwhelming corruption and other faults of his presidency.
But he objected to the illegitimate way his ouster took place, because it undermined the political stability in the country.
“I strictly object to this form [of transition of power] in Ukraine, and anywhere in the post-Soviet space. This does not help nurturing a culture of law. If someone is allowed to act this way, then everyone is allowed to. And this means chaos. That’s the worst thing that can happen to a country with an unstable economy and an unestablished political system,” Putin explained.
He said that while he personally was not fond of months-long streets protests as a means to pressure the government, he sympathized with the Maidan demonstration members, who were genuinely outraged with the situation in Ukraine.
But at the same time he warned that what happens in Ukraine now may be a replacement of one group of crooks with another, citing the appointments of certain wealthy businessmen with questionable reputations.
Asked about the presence of snipers during the violent confrontation in Kiev last month, Putin said he was not aware of any order from the Yanukovich government to use firearms against the protesters. He alleged that the shooters could have been provocateurs from one of the opposition forces. He added that what he was sure of is the fact that police officers were shot at with lethal arms during the confrontation.
Yanukovich is certainly powerless in Ukraine, but legally speaking he is the legitimate president of the country, Putin said. The way the new authorities in Kiev replaced him did not enhance their credibility.
Asked if he felt for Yanukovich, Putin said “Oh, no. I have absolutely different feelings.” But he declined to publicly explain what those were. He also refrained from commenting on what mistakes he saw in Yanukovich’s actions, explaining that it would not be proper for him to do so.
At the same time Putin does not see any political future for Yanukovich, which he told the ousted Ukrainian president himself. He added that Russia allowed him to come to its territory for humanitarian reasons, because if he remained in Ukraine he could have been summarily executed.
The Russian government is currently engaging with the self-proclaimed govern of Ukraine with the goal of preserving economic ties between the two countries. However, any normal relations would only be possible after Ukraine has fully legitimate branches of government, Putin said. He considers that he has no counterpart in Kiev now, so he personally has no partner to communicate with.
The Russian president stressed that Russia wants to see equal participation of all citizens of Ukraine in defining the future of the country. The resistance to the authorities in Kiev, which is evident currently in the eastern and southern Ukraine, shows clearly that currently Kiev does not have a nationwide mandate to govern the country.
“Frankly, they should adopt a new constitution through a referendum so that all citizens of Ukraine feel engagement in that process, have an input on the formation of the new principles of how their nation should function,” Putin suggested. “That’s certainly not for us, but for the Ukrainians and the Ukrainian authorities to decide this way or another. I believe after legitimate government is formed, after a new president elected, after a new parliament is elected, they should return to this.”
Russia will be watching the planned presidential election in Ukraine, Putin said. If it is conducted in an atmosphere of terror, Russia will consider it unfair and will not recognize its results, he warned.
Putin commented on the issue of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which Russia committed to preserve. He said that Western powers reject Russia’s assessment of the events in Ukraine as a coup and insist on calling it a revolution.
Some Russian experts, Putin warned that if Ukraine had undergone a revolution, then the nation that came out of it is not the same that it was before, similarly to how Russia transformed after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
If this is the case, Moscow may consider itself no longer bound by any treaties it has with Ukraine, Putin warned.
The site of the event will be announced later, the agency writes.
Yanukovich vanished over the weekend and his whereabouts have so far been unknown, with rumors claiming that he could have fled to Russia, or that he was still in Crimea.
He was reportedly last seen in Crimea.
The new Ukrainian authorities – who came to power following months of violent confrontation – put Yanukovich on an international wanted list on suspicion of involvement in mass killings during the riots in Kiev.
Dozens of people were killed in clashes between armed radical protesters and security forces.
On February 22, Ukrainian MPs voted to oust Yanukovich and hold a presidential vote on May 25.
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, held an emergency session and passed a law on the return to the 2004 constitution without the president’s approval, saying that the president had removed himself from power.
Yanukovich described the situation as a coup d’etat and said he was not going to resign, as he was a “legitimately elected president.”
On February 23, the parliament voted for its speaker, Aleksandr Turchinov, as acting president of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian leader fled Kiev at the end of the worst week of violence since protests began in November, when he refused to sign an association agreement with the EU.
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general said that the president was still on the country’s soil, without giving any further details.
On Thursday Viktor Yanukovich made a statement that he still considered himself the legitimate leader of Ukraine and warned against an internal military conflict. He also asked Russia to ensure his safety against the actions of “extremists” that took power in Ukraine.
A source inside the Russian authorities told Itar-Tass news agency that his security had reportedly been ensured on Russian territory “in connection with the fact that President Yanukovich appealed to the Russian authorities”.
“The talks were constructive and content-intensive,” the Ukrainian president noted.
He noted that the negotiators focused on “practical work in all spheres.” Yanukovich has made a statement to this effect after the signing ceremony of the Russian-Ukrainian documents in the Russian capital on Tuesday.
The Russian Finance Ministry plans to use other sources along with the National Welfare Fund to buy Ukraine’s Eurobonds in 2014, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Tuesday.
“This can be not only the resources from the National Welfare Fund. We will consider other resources, proceeding from the variability of our resources in the next year,” he said, noting that the sum of 15 billion dollars will be confirmed within 18 months and the resources from the welfare fund will make a larger part of it.
Russia and Ukraine have signed an action plan to settle restrictions in bilateral trade for 2013-2014. Russia would convert $15 billion worth of its National Welfare Fund – a rainy day fund – into Ukrainian securities to help it stave off financial crisis. Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine have signed an amendment that allows Gazprom – which it intends to do – to sell gas to Ukraine at $268.50 for 1,000 cubic metres, President Vladimir Putin said.
Russian gas giant Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) and Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy signed an addition to the contract concerning the purchase of Russian gas, its delivery, amount, and transit terms of January 19, 2009 on Tuesday, with the two countries’ presidents on hand, an Interfax correspondent reported from the signing ceremony.
The particulars of the document are not yet available.
Over the four years of the contract’s life, 28 additions have already been signed, almost every month and a half. The announced additions were associated with the payment schedule and forex payment for gas deliveries.
“As you have seen, Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine have signed an amendment that allows Gazprom – which it intends to do – to sell gas to Ukraine at a price of $268.50 for 1,000 cubic metres. As you know, the current price is around $400,” Putin said after Kremlin talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Russia and Ukraine have signed an action plan to settle restrictions in bilateral trade for 2013-2014.
The document has been signed by the Russian and Ukrainian economy ministers based on the outcomes of the 6th session of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission in Moscow on Tuesday.
The two industry ministers also signed an agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian governments on government support for resuming the serial production of Antonov An-124 planes with various versions of the D-18T engines.
The Russian and Ukrainian governments also signed a protocol on shipments of goods under an industrial cooperation program in 2014 and an agreement on the joint organization of the construction of a transport link through the Kerch Strait.
Russia would convert $15 billion worth of its National Welfare Fund – a rainy day fund – into Ukrainian securities to help it stave off a financial crisis, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Ukraine’s president.
“The Russian government made a decision to invest part of the National Welfare fund to the amount of $15 billion in Ukrainian government securities,” Putin told reporters.
But Putin added that he and President Viktor Yanukovych had not discussed the idea of Kiev joining a Kremlin-led free trade bloc. “I would like to calm everyone down, today we have not discussed the issue of Ukraine joining the Customs Union at all,” he added.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has called for Ukraine and Russia to resume cooperation in aircraft building, shipbuilding, nuclear and other projects.
Speaking at a meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission on Tuesday, he called for finishing the construction of Generating Units 3 and 4 at the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant and said “a minor amount of work remains to be done” to finish the development of the Antonov An-70 airplane before An-70’s can be built on a regular basis.
He also said Russia and Ukraine “are ready to sign important documents” to simplify formalities for crossing the border between them.
He said, furthermore, that “the removal of trade barriers and signing an agreement on pipelines and on the cancellation of transportation duties” would be the Ukraine’s main achievement during its upcoming presidency of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Russian gas giant Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) and Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy signed an additional to the contract concerning the purchase of Russian gas, its delivery, amount, and transit terms of January 19, 2009 on Tuesday, with the two countries’ presidents on hand, an Interfax correspondent reported from the signing ceremony.
The particulars of the document are not yet available.
Over the four years of the contract’s life, 28 additions have already been signed – almost every month and a half. The announced additions were associated with the payment schedule and forex payment for gas deliveries.
“As you have seen, Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine have signed an amendment that allows Gazprom – which it intends to do – to sell gas to Ukraine at a price of $268.50 for 1,000 cubic metres. As you know, that price now is around $400,” Putin said after Kremlin talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
An action plan aimed at settling restrictions in trade between Russia and Ukraine is designed to normalize the volume of trade between the two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. The document has been signed by the Russian and Ukrainian economy ministers based on the outcomes of the 6th session of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission in Moscow on Tuesday.
“This is what the plan for settling trade restrictions is aimed at, and it should be endorsed based on the outcomes of today’s meeting,” Putin said at a session of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate consultations in Moscow on Tuesday.
Trade between Russia and Ukraine dropped to $45 billion in 2012 and by another 15% in the first nine months of 2013, he said.
Russia remains Ukraine’s main economic partner and accounts for 30% of Ukraine’s trade balance, Putin said.
“True, there are also problems, and we also talked about this today. What is alarming is that there has been a downward trend in our trade in the past two years. Trade turnover went down by 11% to $45 billion in 2012,” he said.
The interstate consultations are taking place at the right time, so that the two parties could “look what needs to be done in order to reverse this negative trend and not only reach the previous benchmarks but also provide conditions for moving ahead,” Putin said.
Putin also mentioned cooperation between the two countries in the grain sector; in particular, he said the Russian-Ukrainian-Kazakh grain pool is about to start operating.
The Russian leader also mentioned humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Ukraine. “We will celebrate the 200th anniversary of [the poet] Taras Shevchenko and an anniversary of Sevastopol’s liberation from the Nazi invaders next year,” he said.
The Russian government’s decision to invest part of its National Welfare Fund reserves in Ukrainian securities has not been conditioned by anything, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
“This is not tied to any preconditions, nor the increasing, or reducing, or freezing of any social standards, pensions, allowances, or costs. And I’d like to calm everyone down that we didn’t even discuss Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union today,” Putin said following Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission consultations in Moscow on Tuesday.