PARIS, June 4 (RIA Novosti) – It was never Russia’s intention to destabilize the situation in Ukraine or send its troops to invade the country’s south and east, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in an interview with France’s TF1 channel and Europe1 radio station.
“There are neither military personnel nor Russian instructors in southeastern Ukraine,” Putin stressed.
When asked whether Moscow ever planned to absorb Ukraine or push it to the brink of a crisis, Putin said, “No, we never did or will ever do anything like that.”
The Russian leader urged the government in Kiev to “engage its own people in a dialogue not with the help of tanks or aircraft but with the help of negotiations.”
“People have rights regardless of where they live, and these rights must be guaranteed,” he emphasized in the interview taken during the French journalists’ visit to his Sochi home.
The footage was released ahead of the president’s trip to Normandy, in France, where he will attend a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
While in France, Putin is expected to meet with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss joint measures aimed at de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.