Tags: Russia | Ukraine | Crimea | Putin

Putin Says Russia Not Seeking to Split Up Ukraine After Crimea

Image: Putin Says Russia Not Seeking to Split Up Ukraine After Crimea

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 09:00 AM

President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia isn’t about to occupy eastern Ukraine, blaming Western encroachment for forcing him to annex Crimea in a move that’s sparked the worst diplomatic crisis since the Cold War.

“Don’t believe those who scare you with Russia, who yell that Crimea will be followed by other regions,” Putin told lawmakers today in Moscow. “We don’t want to split up Ukraine, we don’t need that.”

A Crimean referendum that backed joining Russia by almost 97 percent on March 16 was “open and fair,” Putin said. The Black Sea peninsula, where Russia maintains a naval base, was Russian territory until 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine and is an “inalienable” part of Russia, Putin said.

Putin last month won the authorization of the upper house of parliament to deploy troops in Crimea and southeastern Ukraine to protect the rights of Russian-speakers and those of Russian heritage. The U.S. and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russian and Crimean officials and threatened harsher measures.

The Russian leader today signed an agreement with Crimea and its port city of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and asked parliament to approve their accession.

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President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia isn’t about to occupy eastern Ukraine, blaming Western encroachment for forcing him to annex Crimea in a move that’s sparked the worst diplomatic crisis since the Cold War.
Russia,Ukraine,Crimea,Putin
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2014-00-18
Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 09:00 AM
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