Putin: Ukrainian nation split because of foreign-sponsored coup

Putin: Ukrainian nation split because of foreign-sponsored coup
Fri Jun 27, 2014 20:07:43

Russian President Vladimir Putin says an illegal coup orchestrated by forces outside Ukraine has caused a deep rift in Ukrainian society and forced the ex-Soviet nation to choose between Russia and the EU.

Putin made the remarks on Friday Shortly after Ukraine inked an association accord with the European Union, adding, "The anti-constitutional coup in Kiev, [and] the attempts to impose an artificial choice between Europe and Russia have pushed society to a split, to a painful internal confrontation."

In addition, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, warned that Russia would act if the trade deal would end up hurting Russian economic interests, saying Moscow would “take all the necessary measures to protect” its economy.

The Association Agreement between the 28-member bloc and Ukraine is the one now-ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign last November, a move that plunged the country into a political crisis.

Meanwhile, European Union leaders were to meet on Friday in Brussels to discuss imposing additional sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

European leaders accuse Moscow of fuelling the fighting in Ukraine's troubled eastern regions, where a week-long ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian activists is due to end later in the day.

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev’s military operation started in mid-April.

The government in Kiev says it is targeting armed protesters, but reports say many civilians have been caught in the shelling that has been going on for days.

The violence intensified after the two regions declared independence from Ukraine on May 12 following local referendums, in which the residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Kiev.


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