Russia and Ukraine have been a single economic system for many centuries, wrote Russian President Vladimir Putin in his article "On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians", published on the Kremlin's website.
"Recently, answering a question about Russian-Ukrainian relations during the Direct Line, I said that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, a single whole," Putin writes. “These words are not just a tribute to some conjuncture, current political circumstances. I've said it more than once, that's my belief. Therefore, I consider it necessary to state my position in detail, to share assessments of the current situation."
In the article, Putin pointed out that “Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are the descendants of Ancient Russia, which was the largest state in Europe, consisting of Slavic and other tribes in a vast space from Ladoga, Novgorod, Pskov to Kyiv and Chernihiv, who were united by one language”.
"Our kinship is passed down from generation to generation," the article reads. “It is in the hearts, in the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will always be many times stronger and more successful. After all, we are one people."
At the same time, the Russian president called the "wall" that arose between the two sides a tragedy. In his opinion, this situation arose because of "our own mistakes made in different periods."
Putin also reviewed the history of relations between Russia and Ukraine, stressing that they have repeatedly concluded agreements and developed joint projects to strengthen ties and solve various problems. However, later, according to the Russian President, Ukraine began to turn into a "bridgehead against Russia".
"The interests of the Ukrainian people were not thought of in February 2014," the Russian president continues. The just discontent of people caused by the most acute socio-economic problems, mistakes, inconsistent actions of the then authorities, was simply cynically used. Western countries directly interfered in the internal affairs of Ukraine, supported the coup. They used radical nationalist groups as a battering ram. Their slogans, ideology, outright aggressive Russophobia in many respects began to determine the state policy in Ukraine. "
Putin said he is confident that what happened in 2014, including the Euromaidan, as other events, events led to the destruction of what brought Moscow and Kyiv closer together. However, in Crimea, according to Putin, people wanted to make their own choice, similar to residents of southeastern Ukraine, but "they were labeled as separatists and terrorists" for wanting to "protect their home, language, their lives."
Russia, as Putin emphasizes, has taken measures to stop fraternal killing, but at present Ukraine "continues to adhere to aggressive rhetoric and the policy of militarization."
"All the tricks associated with the anti-Russia project are clear to us," Putin writes. “And we will never allow our historical territories and people living there to be used against Russia. And to those who make such an attempt, I want to say that in this way they will destroy their own country. "