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Putin to UN Secretary General: 2014 coup, Kyiv not complying with Minsk agreements root of Ukraine crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, earlier this week (All images courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres in the Kremlin on April 26, here's the text of his opening remarks:

Dear Mr. Secretary General!

I am very glad to see you.

Russia, as one of the founding countries of the United Nations and a permanent member of the [UN] Security Council, has always supported this universal organization. We believe that it is not just universal, but unique in its kind: there is no other organization like it in the international community. And we strongly support the principles on which it is based, and we intend to do so in the future.

For us, the maxims of some of our colleagues sound somewhat strange when they talk about a world based on rules. We believe that the main rule is the Charter of the United Nations and other documents adopted by this organization, and not some papers written by someone for themselves or to ensure their interests.

We also look with surprise at some of the statements of our colleagues about the fact that someone in the world is exclusive or claims exclusive rights, because the Charter of the United Nations states that all participants in international communication are equal, regardless of power, size and geographic location. I think that this is similar to what we have written and listed in the Bible: there all people are equal. Surely we will find the same thing in the Koran and in the Torah. All people are equal before the Lord. Therefore, the idea that someone claims some kind of exclusivity sounds very strange. Well, we live in a complex world, so we proceed from the fact that there is what it really is, we are ready to work with everyone.


Undoubtedly, the UN at one time was created to resolve acute crises, it went through different periods of its development, and quite recently, a few years ago, we heard that it was outdated, that it was no longer needed. This happened at those moments when she prevented someone from achieving their goals in the international arena. We have always said that there is no such universal organization as the UN and that we should cherish the structures that were created after the Second World War specifically to resolve disputes.

I am aware of your concern regarding Russia's military operation in the Donbass, in Ukraine. I think that will be at the heart of our conversation today. In this regard, I would only like to note that the whole problem arose after the coup d'état that took place in Ukraine in 2014. This is an obvious fact. You can call it whatever you want and you can have whatever attachments you want to those who did it, but this is really an unconstitutional coup.

After that, a situation arose with the will of the inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol, who acted in almost the same way as people who lived and live in Kosovo did in their time: they decided on independence, and then turned to us with a request to join the Russian Federation. The only difference is that in Kosovo such a decision on sovereignty was made by the parliament, and in Crimea and Sevastopol – at a national referendum.

There was also a problem in the south-east of Ukraine, where the inhabitants of several territories – two, at least two, subjects of then Ukraine – did not agree with the coup d'état and its results. But they were subjected to very strong pressure, including through large-scale military operations using combat aircraft and heavy military equipment. This is how the crisis arose in the Donbass, in the southeast of Ukraine.

As you know, after another unsuccessful attempt by the Kyiv authorities to solve this problem by military means, we came to the signing of agreements in the city of Minsk, which were called the Minsk agreements. It was an attempt to peacefully resolve the situation in the Donbass.

Unfortunately for us, for eight years the people who lived there, firstly, found themselves in a blockade, and the authorities in Kyiv publicly announced that they were organizing a blockade of these territories. They were not ashamed of this, and so they said: this is a blockade, although at first they refused to do so. And continued military pressure.

Under these conditions, after the authorities in Kyiv actually publicly – I want to emphasize this, publicly – through the mouths of the first persons of the state declared that they did not intend to comply with these Minsk agreements, we were forced, in order to stop the genocide of people who live on these territories, to recognize these states as independent and independent. I repeat once again: this is a necessary measure to end the suffering of the people who live in these territories.

Unfortunately, our colleagues in the West preferred not to notice all this. And after we recognized their independence, they turned to us with a request to provide them with military assistance due to the fact that they are subjected to military influence, military aggression. And we, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, Section Seven, were also forced to do this by launching a special military operation.

I would like to inform you that, despite the ongoing military operation, we still hope that we will be able to reach agreements on the diplomatic track as well. We are negotiating, we do not refuse them.


Moreover, at the talks in Istanbul – and I know that you were just there, I spoke with President Erdogan today – we managed to achieve quite a serious breakthrough. Because our Ukrainian colleagues did not associate the security requirements of the international, international security of Ukraine with such a concept as the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine, leaving Crimea, Sevastopol and the newly recognized Russian republics of Donbass out of brackets, but with certain reservations.

But, unfortunately, after reaching these agreements and after our, in my opinion, quite clearly demonstrated intentions to create favorable conditions for the continuation of negotiations, we faced a provocation in the village of Bucha, to which the Russian army has nothing to do. We know who did it, we know who prepared this provocation, by what means, what kind of people worked on it.

And the position of our negotiators from Ukraine on a further settlement changed dramatically after that: they moved away from their previous intentions to put aside the issues of guaranteeing the security of the territory of Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbass. They simply refused to do so, and in their draft agreement on this matter, presented to us, they simply indicated in two articles that these issues should be resolved at a meeting of heads of state.

It is clear to us that these issues, if we refer them to the level of heads of state without first resolving them, at least within the framework of a draft agreement, it is clear to us that they will never be resolved and never will be. In this case, we simply cannot subscribe to security guarantees without resolving issues of a territorial nature in relation to Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbass. Nevertheless, negotiations are underway. They are currently running online. I still hope that this will lead us to some positive result.

This is what I would like to say at the beginning. Surely we will have many questions related to this situation. Maybe we can talk about other issues.

I am very glad to see you. Welcome to Moscow!

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