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Putin says Ukrainian reunification with Donbass now nearly lost cause, as Kiev prefers to play the ‘victim’, not to work for peace

Putin says Ukrainian reunification with Donbass now nearly lost cause, as Kiev prefers to play the ‘victim’, not to work for peace
Russian President Vladimir Putin has blasted Ukraine's apparent lack of interest in striking a deal to resolve the bloody civil war in the east of the country, saying that Kiev politicians are using it to score political points.

In a lengthy article published on the Kremlin’s website on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that much of modern Ukraine had been formed out of his country’s historical territories, and at Moscow’s expense. Arguing that the two nations shared deep historical and cultural roots, he said that modern conflicts were derived from the fact that Ukraine was “the brainchild of the Soviet era” and effectively an experiment by “Bolsheviks” who drew its borders.

However, Putin said, the implications of ongoing disputes within the Eastern European nation were catastrophic. “According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the total number of victims associated with the conflict in Donbass has exceeded 13,000 people,” he said. “Among them are elderly people and children. Terrible, irreparable losses.”

“Russia did everything to stop fratricide,” he went on, arguing that Moscow sees no other way out of the bitter dispute than for Kiev to honor the Minsk Agreements that were intended to provide a roadmap to ending the conflict. However, he said, talks with Ukrainian officials have fallen flat because “they prefer to exploit the image of a ‘victim of external aggression’ and trade in Russophobia.”

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Insisting that Kiev is using the conflict to its advantage in dealing with the West, Putin also claimed that “they arrange bloody provocations in the Donbass” and, “in a word, are trying to attract the attention of their external patrons and masters by any means necessary.”

“I am more and more convinced that Kiev simply does not need Donbass,” the president went on. “Why? Because, firstly, the inhabitants of these regions will never accept the rule they are trying to impose by force, blockades and threats.” In addition, he said, the Minsk protocols could be readily implemented but, in his words, “contradict the whole logic of the anti-Russia project” and would undermine “the constant cultivation of the image of an internal and external enemy.”

Fighting between Kiev's forces and those loyal to the two breakaway self-proclaimed Donbass Republics has escalated in recent months, with a number of civilian casualties reported. A tense standoff between Ukrainian forces and Russian soldiers across the frontier sparked concerns of an all-out conflict earlier this year, until Moscow announced that its units would be redeployed and that readiness exercises had been concluded.

Last month, Putin said that he saw little point in meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to discuss the situation in the east of Ukraine given, he alleged, that much of the country’s policies were imposed from abroad.

“Why should I meet Zelensky?” the Russian leader asked. “If he has given up his country to full external control, the key issues about life in Ukraine are resolved not in Kiev but in Washington, and, to some extent, in Berlin and Paris. What then would we talk about?”

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