VLADIVOSTOK (Sputnik) — Moscow will not leave Russian and Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine to deal with local nationalists, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a documentary aired Sunday on Rossiya 1 television channel.
“We cannot leave the people residing in south-eastern Ukraine at the mercy of nationalists. It's not only the Russians, but also other Russian-speaking people, who rely on Russia,” Putin said.
According to Putin, the West thinks it can pressure Russia over the Ukrainian crisis settlement, stating that it is not Moscow’s business what happens in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions have been targeted by Kiev's military operation since April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government, which came to power as the result of a coup.
The Minsk agreement implementation is due to be finished by the end of 2015.
West Trying to Shift 'Burden' of Financing Ukraine to Russia
“The living standards of the [Ukrainian] people is falling dramatically, the country's GDP has significantly decreased… A complete de-industrialization of Ukraine is underway,” Putin said.
Western states do not want to support Ukraine financially but to make Moscow carry this responsibility, without sharing any risks, he added.
“Nobody wants to financially support Ukraine… At the same time, they [the West] want to shift the financial burden to Russia… Let’s share the risks, we said. We are ready to restructure Ukraine’s debt to us… They do not want to share this risk.”
Ukraine is completely “de-industrializing,” with its GDP dramatically decreasing and living standards falling, the president said.
Currently, Ukraine increasingly relies on external funding to reanimate its economy amid a deep recession and high inflation.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday that the government had introduced a moratorium on the payment of Ukraine's $3-billion loan to Russia and was ready to go to the court over the issue.
West Realizes Supporting 2014 Ukraine Coup Was Mistake
The West realizes that it made a mistake by taking an advantage of Ukrainians' discontent with their government in 2014 and supporting an anti-government coup in the country, according to Putin.
"As for Ukraine… I think many our partners realize that they made a mistake. They do not want to admit it but they took an advantage of population's discontent," Putin said.
"You cannot improve anything by a coup. Has anything improved in the country? The power is in the hands of oligarchs," the Russian president added.