News / Europe

    Putin Repeats Call for Political Compromise in Ukraine

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin, front, attends a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1941 near memorials by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, June 22, 2014.
    Russia's President Vladimir Putin, front, attends a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1941 near memorials by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, June 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday again called for political compromise in Ukraine, saying a peace deal should ensure the rights of all Russian-speaking people in Ukraine's east.
     
    Putin's comments came as Russian news outlets reported new fighting in Ukraine near the Russian border, including an apparent bomb blast targeting the Donetsk railway line.  Russian media also cited an attack by pro-Russian separatists on a Ukrainian armored column outside the city of Luhansk.  There were no immediate casualty reports.
     
    On Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a week-long unilateral cease-fire in the region, and said he would negotiate with separatists who are not implicated in "murder and torture" in eastern Ukraine.
     
    Putin on Sunday said the truce "should result in dialogue between all conflicting sides."  He called such talks "the keystone of success."
     
    French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also urged the Russian leader to boost border security to stop the flow of military hardware and fighters into eastern Ukraine.
     
    Poroshenko's cease-fire declaration - rejected by separatist leaders - ordered Ukrainian forces to halt all operations for seven days.  But he said the order did not mean Ukrainian troops would not fight back if attacked.
     
    Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a tense standoff since late February, when Ukrainian protesters forced their Russian-backed president to flee the country after months of anti-government demonstrations in Kyiv.
     
    Weeks later, Russia retaliated by annexing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, following a secession vote which both Kyiv and the West condemned as staged. Armed pro-Moscow separatists launched their rebellion in the east of the country in April.

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    by: Lev Havryliv from: Sydney
    June 23, 2014 1:19 AM
    Putin could end the bloodshed in Ukraine immediately by ordering the withdrawal of Russian operatives and mercenaries from east Ukraine.

    The commander of pro-Russian rebels is a Russian GRU military colonel by the name of Oleg Girkin. His chief associate is a Moscow resident called Borodai.

    Ukrainian security sources estimate that of the twenty thousand armed fighters in Donetsk and Luhansk, more than half have illegally crossed the border from Russia.

    Putin made no secret of his desire to extend his rule to east Ukraine during his annexation of Crimea speech when he referred to south east Ukraine as territories that should become Russian. He even referred to this region as "Novorosia" meaning new Russia.

    by: iffs
    June 22, 2014 10:32 PM
    miles from the truth of an oppressivive russia since the battle of poltava in 1509


    by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
    June 22, 2014 2:42 PM
    My advice to Ukraine would be to assure Putin that it does not intend to join NATO. That is Putin's prime to only objection to Ukraine. It would seem unlikely that Ukraine would ever be allowed by Russia to join NATO. If Ukraine were to accept this fact, it could protect itself now. Russia's concerns would be alleviated. Normality could return to Ukraine. Ukraine would not see the return of Crimea. It could solve its current military problems. For NATO to seek to expand into Ukraine would be a misjudgement. NATO and Ukraine should recognize this. Ukraine could continue to pursue economic union with Europe. That poses only a hypothetical strategic risk to Russia. It does not pose a necessary risk outcome to Russia. Ukraine would be wise to seek economic ties with Russia and Europe. This would further lessen political tensions. Such are the facts of life for Ukraine.
    In Response

    by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
    June 23, 2014 7:57 AM
    I agree with Lev Havryliv that Putin wants to restore the Russian empire and that he would find it difficult to tolerate a pluralistic, democratic Ukraine. However, if Ukraine and its push toward Europeanization were the patient, I wouldn't necessarily declare it a terminal case. If Ukraine seeks out a neutral, independent strategy, it stands a better chance of survival with European contacts as part of its strategy. If it acts to substitute European for Russian relationships, Russia will likely act as you say. Ukraine is definitely on the high wire and would be wise to watch its step. To step off the wire would bring disaster. The wire is correct strategy. That means assuming a strategy of independence from all power blocs while making and maintaining contact with all.
    In Response

    by: Lev Havryliv from: Sydney
    June 23, 2014 1:40 AM
    I don't feel that Putin would be assured by pledges that Ukraine would not join NATO.

    In my opinion Putin is motivated by two issues.

    Firstly, he feels humiliated by the collapse of the USSR and Russia's loss of superpower status. Only restoration of control of Ukraine could ever make Russia another potential superpower.

    Secondly, a democratic, pluralist, Ukraine would expose Putin to challenges within Russia to his autocratic style of government.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    June 22, 2014 11:14 PM
    Great Idea! Ukraine must choose both Russia and Ukraine to survive. The new leader of Ukraine must keep in mind that fact. Ukraine needs such a wise leader to do so.

    by: Goldingen from: Mittawa
    June 22, 2014 2:16 PM
    Kidding.

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