ST. PETERSBURG, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – The situation that has appeared in Ukraine is very important for Russia but is only a technical issue for the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.
"In regard to Ukraine, you know what the problem is. For us it is extremely important, but in America questions on Ukraine were decided on a technical level. I personally handled the problem," Putin told the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Official delegations from 62 countries and CEOs of 146 major world companies are attending the forum this year, but the European Union, US and NATO representatives have refused to attend.
Putin also accused Western countries of supporting the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine at a time when Moscow was calling for a way out of the crisis in the country through dialogue.
The statement came at a time of strained Russia-US relations, after the US, together with the EU, imposed sanctions on Russian officials for allegedly escalating the situation in Ukraine.
Ukraine went through a regime change resembling a military coup on February 22, after months of clashes between the Russia-oriented authorities and supporters of Ukraine’s affiliation with Europe. The country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25.
Since March, when the former Ukrainian Crimean peninsula rejoined Russia, anti-government protests have been spreading across the mainly Russian-speaking southeastern regions of the Ukraine. The Donetsk and Luhansk regions proclaimed autonomy earlier this month.
Ukraine’s new interim authorities, backed by radical ultranationalist groups, launched a special operation to crack down on the protesters in mid-April, which has already led to dozens of deaths and injuries.