Putin withdraws troops, calls for end to Kiev’s military ops


Newscast Media MOSCOW—Ukrainian right-wing groups are behind the recent events
in the country, Russian President Vladmir Putin said, adding that Kiev has not
disarmed them. He also called on anti-Kiev protesters to postpone a May 11
federalization referendum.

“Russia believes that the crisis, which originated in Ukraine and is now actively
developing in accordance with the worst-case scenario, is to be blamed on those
who organized the coup in Kiev on 22-23 February and still do not care to disarm the
right-wing and nationalist elements,” the president said.

Direct dialogue between Kiev and anti-government protesters in southeast Ukraine is
key to ending the crisis, Putin said.

It is now essential “to create the necessary conditions for this dialogue,” he added.

This, however, would require rescheduling the referendum, which anti-government
activists scheduled on May 11 to determine the fate of southeast Ukraine.

“We are calling for southeast Ukraine representatives, supporters of federalization of
the country, to postpone the May 11 referendum to create the necessary conditions
for dialogue,” Putin said at a press conference with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter in Moscow.

In response to Putin’s offer, one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk
People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said the possibility would be discussed Thursday.

“We respect Putin’s position. He is a balanced politician. So we will submit this
proposal tomorrow to the people’s council,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin also said that Russia has withdrawn its troops from the
Ukrainian border.

“We have been told that our troops on the Ukrainian border are a concern – we have
withdrawn them. They are now not on Ukrainian territory, but at locations where they
conduct regular drills at ranges,” he said.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested holding “roundtable discussions,”
a proposal that Moscow fully supports, Putin added.

Moscow and the OSCE agree substantially on the approach to resolving the situation
in Ukraine, Putin said, adding that negotiations had made it clear.

Source: Al Manar