MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ukraine has been gripped by an internal conflict between independence supporters in the southeastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk and the new Kiev government, which came to power as a result of a coup in February 2014.
"The Ukrainian crisis can be resolved only in Ukraine by the Ukrainians…The existence of Ukraine depends on the wisdom, patience, tact, and a willingness to achieve compromise and negotiation between all the decision-makers in Ukraine. I’m talking about the authorities in Kiev and the political forces in southeastern Ukraine," Medvedev said in an interview with Slovenian radio and television company RTV Slovenija on the eve of his visit to Slovenia.
The prime minister stressed that the crisis is the result of actions taken on the part of Ukrainian authorities.
"The Ukrainian crisis was engineered. It’s not that it originated in someone’s head, or is due to some force majeure circumstances. No, it was actually staged, and the former and current leaders of Ukraine are responsible for it," Medvedev said, adding that "the former failed to restore law and order, while the latter allowed a civil war to break out."
According to Medvedev, Ukrainian people must hold Kiev accountable for the crisis in the country so that the government takes steps towards a compromise with the leaders of the southeastern regions.
"Only then will peace come to the Ukrainian land. Perhaps, this is the most important thing to do, because if it doesn’t happen, we will witness a very sad process," Medvedev stressed.
The prime minister emphasized that Moscow is doing its best to help Kiev authorities and the political forces in southeastern Ukraine reach a compromise.
"Anyone who wants them to agree can help. So does Russia, although we do not consider ourselves responsible for this conflict. Indeed, Ukraine is close to us, and the people who live there are very close to us. They are, in fact, our relatives."
The United Nations estimates that more than 6,500 people have died in clashes between Kiev-led forces and armed militia from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics in south-eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict in April 2014.
Russia has played a crucial role in the Ukraine peace process having been part of several negotiation formats. Talks held in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in February in the Normandy Quartet format (leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) led to a breakthrough ceasefire agreement between Ukraine’s conflicting sides.