MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will formulate his opinion towards the referendums in two southeastern Ukrainian regions held on Sunday after their official results are made public, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the Kommersant newspaper.
“It is difficult to forecast,” Peskov told the newspaper.
Putin had urged pro-federalization activists to put off the referendum to ensure the start of national dialog to resolve the ongoing crisis in the country, but the vote in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions was held as scheduled on Sunday.
Asked whether Putin’s position would be affected by this decision to hold the referendum, Peskov said that the Russian president “did not request but gave such a recommendation.”
“However, even taking into account the authority of the Russian president, it was difficult to listen to this [advice]. Amid real battle actions being held, citizens were forced to act in line with their own plan and judge from the situation,” Peskov said.
He dismissed criticism by the US and EU towards Russia saying: “Why could not the West have prevented the use of armored vehicles in Slaviansk and Kramatorsk and avoid the shooting of civilians. They did not use their influence and they are alright with this, and Russia is the one to blame,” he said.
Peskov dismissed the possible new sanctions against Moscow, accusing the West of pursuing its goals in the region. “They do not care how the agreements are fulfilled, if there is a dialog or shooting has ended. Their aim is to hold elections and close a legal issue on the legitimacy of the coup they had organized,” he said.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that talking in the language of sanctions is "inappropriate and counterproductive" and warned its Western partners about the "boomerang effect" that sanctions would have.