Vladimir Putin spoke with a journalist from the state channel Russia 24. The interview, given a week before meeting with Joe Biden, was not announced and it turned out that the conversation was about Ukraine – about Zelensky’s bill, Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO, a meeting with the Ukrainian president and the uniform of the Ukrainian national football team.
On Zelenskiy’s draft law on indigenous peoples
Vladimir Putin commented on the bill, the text of which states that Russians in Ukraine cannot be considered an indigenous people. The response of the Russian president began with an excursion into the past, to the origins of Ukrainian statehood:
“This is a product of the Soviet period. The Bolsheviks, organizing the Soviet Union, created, among other things, union republics and Ukraine. We can recall that these territories came to the Russian state or the process of their reunification with Russia began in 1654, after the Pereyaslav Rada. And then those people who lived in these territories, and these are, in today’s language, three regions, and so these people considered and called themselves Russian and Orthodox. This is all in the documents, they are in the archives. “
Then Putin explained his negative attitude to the new bill as clearly as possible, calling such a division of the population into indigenous and non-indigenous contrary to the norms of humanitarian law: “It definitely looks like the theory and practice of Nazi Germany.” And he expressed bewilderment by what criteria the indigenous people will be determined:
“What to do? Zelensky himself is a Jew by nationality. I don’t know, he may have mixed blood there. What to do with these people? Will they now measure their skulls with a compass, as in Nazi Germany? a real and a fake Aryan, now this is how they will define a real and fake Ukrainian ?! “
According to the Russian president, there will be no European reaction to this bill:
“Relations with Ukraine are being built in such a way that it is viewed as the antipode of Russia. [А потому] They prefer not to touch Ukraine … And also not to notice the swastika with which neo-Nazis walk around the cities of Ukraine. “
He also believes that the bill will find serious reflection in Ukrainian society. Indeed, in accordance with the population census of the USSR period, people of many nationalities lived in Ukraine:
“Nobody wants to be second-class people! I’m not talking about discrimination in language and other components of a person’s normal life. This will lead to the fact that hundreds of thousands, and maybe millions, will either be forced to leave, not wanting to be second-class people. , or they will start rewriting themselves in some other way. This is a powerful, serious blow to the Russian people as a whole. This cannot be indifferent to us. “
Meeting with the Ukrainian President
When asked by a journalist about the upcoming event and the main topics, Putin replied:
“Of course, we always have something to talk about, keeping in mind that we are neighbors. Now the point is not even this ugly draft law. But when we asked at the level of the presidential administration what we are supposed to talk about, we I don’t think it’s any secret. In general, it was proposed to talk about international security. But I think that we have so many problems in bilateral relations that it would be necessary to talk about it.
As for the Donbass and the Kiev authorities of today, it is not ours, not my whim for the Kiev authorities to talk to the people of Donbass. This is written in the Minsk agreements and under them are the signatures of the unrecognized republics. Moreover, then-President Petro Poroshenko insisted that they put their signatures. And the representatives of Donbass, by the way, did not want to do this. We had to do a lot of work with them. We have convinced that this is advisable.
And now the Kievans do not want to talk to them. Moreover, Zakharchenko was killed. They killed a man, the leader of one of the “republics”. And silence. Nobody seems to remember this either. This suggests that the current Kiev authorities simply have no desire to fulfill the Minsk agreements. “
The journalist asked, what does Kiev mean by the concept of “international security” that it wants to discuss? To which the Russian president replied:
“It’s not very clear. Donbass, maybe [Зеленский] wanted to discuss with us … There are global issues [международной безопасности]… Each participant in international communication has the right to discuss them, including Ukraine. But first of all, it is necessary to resolve problematic issues of a bilateral nature. “
About the form of the players of the Ukrainian national team with Crimea on the map
The journalist asked if this offended Vladimir Putin, to which he replied:
“No. There is no novelty here. After all, the position of the Ukrainian authorities regarding Crimea is well known to us. They neglect the expression of the will of the Crimean people, which also does not really fit with the understanding of democracy. Democracy is the rule of the people …”.
On Ukraine’s membership in NATO
From the website of the President of Ukraine, after a conversation with Joe Biden, the phrase “the President of the United States noted the importance of granting Ukraine membership in NATO” was removed. The correspondent told Putin about the embarrassment and asked the question: “You have made it clear more than once that Ukraine in NATO is a red line. What do you think about this now?” The President replied:
“As for the expansion of NATO, bringing the infrastructure closer to the Russian borders, this is an extremely important thing for the security of Russians. Look. There were two waves of NATO expansion to the East. And note, then there was no Crimea, there were no events after the coup d’etat in Ukraine. between Russia and the United States, relations between Russia and the collective West were then level, quite acceptable, if not partnering. Nevertheless, all our concerns were ignored. All preliminary agreements – though they were oral in nature with Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev – fell into oblivion I don’t want to use harsh words, but they just didn’t care about our interests. What does this mean? They put their interests above other peoples, regardless of the nature of relations with these countries.
We have just more or less dealt with Nord Stream 2. But everything that has been done so far clearly contradicted the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. They did the States because it was so profitable for them. But here it was already pointless to resist and impose sanctions, because it was completed. The first thread is ready! It seems like they abandoned such sanctions. But they go so, and at such a pace, and wherever they think is necessary. In fact, completely ignoring the interests of other participants.
Expanding NATO and bringing infrastructure closer to the borders is of practical importance. Why? Here Poland, Romania became members of NATO. The Americans easily agreed with them on the deployment of missile defense (ABM) systems. But the launch systems of these installations can be used for strike systems that reach the center of Russia, including Moscow. Moreover, in a very short time: 15 minutes – flight time to Moscow. Imagine that Ukraine becomes a NATO member.
The flight time from Kharkov and from Dnepropetrovsk to the central part of Russia, to Moscow, will decrease to 7-10 minutes. Is this a red line for us or not? If we take what would be dangerous and unacceptable for the United States – the deployment of our missiles in Cuba. Flight time to Washington – 15 minutes. And in order for the flight time to be reduced to 7-10 minutes, our missiles would have to be deployed on the southern border of Canada or on the northern border of Mexico. Are these red lines for the USA or not ?! Does anyone even have to think about it? Think about how we should respond to what is essentially being proposed and discussed. “
According to Putin, he does not know whether the Americans can be trusted about their statements about the absence of any promises to Ukraine about joining NATO. However, he suggests that such conversations are being conducted as a diversion:
“Now about the proposal related to the plan for Ukraine’s entry into NATO. Yes, I know, and I see the comments of our observers, politicians, and the media. Everyone laughs so little at Zelensky that all this is chatter, nothing will happen. I have a different opinion. Or maybe they told him [Зеленскому] They just said: “You know what? You got out a little early. And you got out of place. Because a summit meeting of the two presidents is planned. What are you stopping us? You spoil the situation before the summit. I couldn’t keep quiet for several days.”
At least nobody says no. What are they [Зеленский и Байден] we talked among themselves, what they agreed on there – I don’t know. And a shout from across the ocean towards the President of Ukraine, in my opinion, does not mean anything. And we must keep this in mind … “.
Having voiced the results of a poll of Ukrainian citizens about the country’s accession to NATO, where half of them approved, and the other spoke out against, Putin called the latter “smart people”:
“I say so without irony. Not because those who want to join NATO are stupid people. But because those who do not want, understand, do not want to be in the line of fire, to be a bargaining chip and cannon fodder. these people feel that they are part of our common civilization. And they do not want one part of this civilization to oppose the other and at the same time perform some kind of dance to someone else’s music. “
It is quite possible that guarantees of Kiev’s non-alignment with the alliance will be one of the key topics of Vladimir Putin’s talks with Biden in Geneva.