Russian president Vladamir Putin has appeared on National U.S. television on the 60 Minutes show ahead of his address at the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York soon.
Speaking with interview Charlie Rose, Putin discussed the questions everyone has been dying to ask him, including his views on Ukraine, and the U.S.
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Putin on Ukraine: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable to address issues, including controversial ones, as well as domestic issues of the former Soviet Republics through the so-called color revolutions, through coups and unconstitutional means of toppling the current government’.
Of course, Russia’s closest neighbor, Ukraine, is part of the daily news agenda.
President Putin cast some light on why the Ukraine issue is such a huge problem for Russia.
“Ukraine is the closest country to us. We have always said that Ukraine is our sister country and it is true. It is not just a Slavic people, it is the closest people to Russia: we have similar languages, culture, common history, religion etc.”
He also revealed what he believes is completely unacceptable for Russia.
“Addressing issues, including controversial ones, as well as domestic issues of the former Soviet Republics through the so-called colored revolutions, through coups and unconstitutional means of toppling the current government. That is absolutely unacceptable. Our partners in the United States are not trying to hide the fact that they supported those opposed to President Yanukovych.”
Asked whether he believed the United States had something to do with the ousting of Yanukovych, causing him to flee to Russia, the president replied that he, in fact, knew this for sure, at the same time describing his sources.
“It is very simple. We have thousands of contacts and thousands of connections with people who live in Ukraine. And we know who had meetings and worked with people who overthrew Viktor Yanukovych, as well as when and where they did it.”
“We know the ways the assistance was provided, we know how much they paid them, we know which territories and countries hosted training and how it was done, we know who the instructors were.”
“We know everything. Well, actually, our US partners are not keeping it a secret.”
Putin on the sovereignty of Ukraine: ‘At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government.’
The Russian leader also stressed that Russia respects the sovereignty of Ukraine and Russia had not and would not take any part in any activities aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government of any country. He added that Russia would never resort to the use of the military force in such a case.
However, the president called on other countries to respect the sovereignty of other states, including Ukraine.
“Respecting the sovereignty means preventing coups, unconstitutional actions and illegitimate overthrowing of the legitimate government.”
Putin on Russia’s military presence in Ukraine: ‘If we keep our troops on our territory on the border with some state, it is not a crime.’
The issue of Russia’s military presence in Ukraine has long had the Western media in a flurry. But the Russian president explained it using the example of the US’ military presence in Europe.
“US tactical nuclear weapons are in Europe, let us not forget this. Does it mean that the US has occupied Germany or that the US never stopped the occupation after World War II and only transformed the occupation troops into NATO forces?”
“And if we keep our troops on our territory on the border with some state, you see it is a crime?”
Putin on his rating and popularity: ‘There is something that unites me and other citizens of Russia. It is love for our Motherland.’
Putin on democracy: ‘There can be no democracy without observing the law and everyone must observe it – that is the most basic and important thing that we all should remember.’