“Attempts to solve political issues by force – we’ve seen them carried out by the Ukrainian side for several years, and they still continue – are self-defeating. It is necessary to understand it,” Putin said.
The Russian president also answered to the journalist’s words on the sufferings of people living in Donbass. “You a Ukrainian citizen, aren’t you? Do you consider people living on these territories (the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics) citizens of your country?” Putin asked. “Tell me who established the blockade between Donbass and the rest of Ukraine, was it Russia that did it?”
“It was done by Ukraine’s authorities: they imposed a total economic blockade over the territory which they consider to be theirs,” Putin went on. “They fire on people whom they consider to be their citizens.” “People, civilians, die there almost every day. Civilians,” the Russian president stressed.
Russia has provided and will provide humanitarian help to these territories, Putin said. “We are providing humanitarian help to these people, just to prevent them from being ruined, quashed and torn apart. And we will continue doing it,” the Russian president said.
“We want peace and prosperity throughout Ukraine, in particular in the Donbas. We are interested in it, because Ukraine remains one of our biggest trade and economic partners. The trade turnover between Ukraine and Russia, despite all the efforts of the current Kiev authorities is growing, in particular over the past year,” Putin said.
Putin stressed that this is the result of natural ties between the two countries.
“These natural connections will make their presence felt someday. But as long as there are Russophobes in the Kiev halls of power, who do not understand what the interests of their own people are, this abnormal situation will continue, regardless of who is in power in the Kremlin,” – the President said.
On January 25, 2017, representatives for the so-called Ukrainian volunteer battalions, supported by some parliamentary members, blocked the movement of cargo trains with coal going from the Donbass areas not controlled by Kiev. The blockade was declared to be termless. Radicals also blocked some highways later. Some Donbass enterprises had to suspend their operation or came close to suspension due to the blockade.
Official Kiev then froze entire transport communication with the Donbass territories not controlled by Kiev starting from March 15, under the pressure exerted by radicals and following the decision of the Ukrainian Council for National Security and Defense.