Ahead of contentious nationwide elections in Ukraine this weekend designed to pave the way for a new government in the politically fractured country, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday had strong words for western nations, including the United States, who he says backed the coup d’etat that has put the nation on the edge of all out civil war.
In his remarks Friday, Putin said that Russia would back the results of the vote, but cautioned the Obama administration on its continued mishandling of the crisis, including its failure to honor diplomatic efforts and an overtly-biased relationship with the individuals and parties in Kiev who overthrew the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovich earlier this year.
In an interview with CNBC, in front of an audience at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Putin offered his overview of what happened in Ukraine and the current conditions by stating (based on CNBC’s transcript):
What happened in Ukraine now is chaos, the country is sliding into chaos. Yanukovych agreed to do anything, whatever, had it all been done legally, we’d continue subsidising them, we’d keep gas prices low, we’d allocate the 15 billion we’d promised. Let us be frank, we’re all grownups in the room, we’re all smart and educated people. The West supported anti-constitutional coup d’état, not just by giving away cookies, but by giving political support, support in the media, using all sorts of tools. And are you blaming us? What we suggested was dialogue. We were denied. When I last came to Brussels we agreed that dialogue would continue but that was before the coup d’état.
Asked repeatedly by the interviewer to discuss how Russian president intends to work with the new government in Kiev, even if the outcome is unfavorable to many in the east and the south, Putin indicated that though he would like to see reforms that address the concerns of all Ukrainians, he is committed to a renewed and healthy relationship with Russia’s neighbor. Putin stated: