MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia has always maintained relations with the Kurdish people and there are no reasons to break these ties off, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual "Direct Line" session on Thursday.
"We have always maintained relations with the Kurdish people, and I see no reasons to halt these contacts. But, first, we need to solve the common problem, which you have just mentioned. This is the fight against terrorism. We know, and I have repeatedly said this, our position here is open — we know about a significant contribution made by the Kurdish fighters in the struggle against terrorism. Kurdish military units are very effective," Putin said.
Russia and Iraq are cooperating very actively in general, and "these relations will be developing," Putin noted.
The Kurdish problem is "acute," and Russia will form up its position regarding this issue "within the framework of international law," the president added.
The Kurds, making up about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq’s Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, therefore making Iraqi Kurdistan the only autonomous region of the country.