Putin: Russia not going to cut off relations with Ukraine over Kiev’s plot in Crimea
President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will not cut off relations with Ukraine in the wake of a foiled terrorist plot by Ukrainian infiltrators in Crimea in early August.
"We're not going to cut our relations, despite the reluctance of the current authorities in Kiev to have full diplomatic ties at ambassador level. We nevertheless will create opportunities for the development of contacts and their support,” Putin said on Friday during a session of the country’s Security Council.
Last week, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that it had foiled several terrorist attacks in Crimea in early August, which it says had been planned by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence agency.
According to the FSB, its operatives detained several infiltrators who were planning to blow up a highway as motorcades carrying local officials and federal authorities were driving by. Explosive devices and ammunition used by the Ukrainian Army’s special forces were discovered at the scene, while further attempts by Ukrainian infiltrators to enter Crimea were prevented by Russian forces this week, the FSB said.
Later the agency also released a video of what law enforcers said was another Ukrainian infiltrator. The man claimed Kiev was planning to target a bus station and an airport in the city of Simferopol.
President Putin commented on the FSB report, saying that Kiev had turned to the “practice of terrorism,” adding that this has made any talks with the Ukrainian regime pointless.
“I think it’s obvious that Kiev’s current authorities are not seeking ways to solve problems through negotiations, but have turned to terrorism,” Putin said, adding that this new development was alarming.
Visiting Crimea on Friday, Putin also said the thwarted terrorist act by Ukrainian infiltrators showed Kiev’s unwilling to stick to the Minsk deal, which regulates peace process for the civil war ravaged East Ukraine.
“It is clear why this has been done - because [Ukraine] does not want to or cannot, for whatever reasons, fulfill the Minsk agreement,” Putin said.
Putin stressed that he hopes Ukraine’s actions will not set the tone for its relations with Russia.
“I hope that this will not be the final choice… by our partners, and [that] common sense will prevail,” Putin told the Security Council.
The Russian leader also said that “the development of trade and economic ties should always be the focus of our attention” with regard to relations with Ukraine.
Moscow will though consider additional security measures for residents of Crimea as well as tourists visiting the region, according to the president.