Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Kiev to establish a dialogue within the country, rather than point fingers at other countries. According to Putin, the new Kiev authorities need to take actions to equally treat the rights of those residing on other territories of Ukraine. "First of all, I mean the east and southeast. They need to establish a dialogue to find a compromise. This is what one must do. Looking for the guilty ones outside is wrong. Pies on Maidan - this is a road to the crisis. One needs to understand that the situation is serious and look for serious approaches to its solution," he said.
The President also said that the government proposed to introduce retaliatory sanctions against the U.S. and the EU, but he has not given permission for it. "The Russian government has already proposed some steps in response. I believe that this is not necessary," he stressed. However, Vladimir Putin said that "if something like this continues,then, of course, we'll have to think about who works in the Russian Federation in the key sectors of the Russian economy and how, including in the energy sector." "We really do not want to resort to any steps in response," said the president of Russia.
Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that the United States was originally behind the events in Ukraine. "I think what is happening there now shows us who was actually orchestrating the process from the beginning. But at first, the United States preferred to keep a low profile," he said.
According to Putin, the fact that the U.S. has come out to the forefront in resolving the crisis in Ukraine shows that it was the USA that was originally at the head of the process. "They have now manifested themselves as the leaders of this whole process," said Vladimir Putin.
The Russian President also said that in Ukraine there are no Russian troops, " Interfax reports. "We hear that there are our special forces and instructors in Ukraine. I responsibly affirm that there are neither Russian instructors nor special forces and troops there. There's nobody there!"
Speaking of OSCE military observers, whom local militia hold in Slavyansk, Vladimir Putin expressed a hope that the conflict would be resolved and they would be able to freely leave the territory, in which they currently stay. According to him, all participants of the process should draw conclusions from the situation and think twice about it. If the government or those who now call themselves the government invited observers, especially military observers, it means that they are experienced people, who understood that they were going to the conflict zone of the country that does not recognize the legitimacy of the authorities. "One should have foreseen that and negotiate with the people who control the area, to avoid such mistakes," said Putin.
Meanwhile, the U.S. authorities may waive the sanctions against Russia if the Russian administration takes steps to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Brent Hartley said.
Hartley, speaking at a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, confirmed that the Obama administration still intended to use both diplomacy and sanctions in its current relations with Russia.
According to him, America is aware that all issues related to the crisis in Ukraine only be resolved by diplomatic means.
"However, the scale of the sanctions can be changed. They are flexible," Hartley said. "If the Russians decide they want to ensure de-escalation of the situation and behave in accordance with international standards again, then we can lift the sanctions." "But, even as we tighten our approach to solving these issues, we want to leave the door open for a diplomatic solution," the official said.
According to the most recent opinion poll conducted by Levada Center, as many as 82 percent of the Russian population support the activity of Vladimir Putin as President. Fifty-eight percent of the polled said that affairs in the country are going in the right direction, 26 percent said that the country was moving in the wrong direction, while 60 percent said that Russia was moving in the right direction.
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