Putin says Ukraine is becoming ‘anti-Russia’, promises response
President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that neighboring Ukraine was becoming “anti-Russian” and that Moscow would be ready to respond to what he called threats to its own security.
Putin was speaking a day after a Ukrainian court placed Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent pro-Russian politician who says Putin is his daughter’s godfather, under house arrest. Read more
Medvedchuk, who has promoted closer ties with Moscow and served as an intermediary between Moscow and Kiev in the past, is under investigation into allegations of treason which he describes as politically motivated.
Putin, in remarks to a meeting of Russia’s Security Council, called what was happening in Ukraine a “ cleaning up ” of political space and accused Ukrainian authorities of targeting people who favored better ties. with Russia and were supporting a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine where Ukraine forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
“Judging by everything, and it is very sad, Ukraine is slowly but surely turning into a kind of polar opposite of Russia, a kind of anti-Russia, and a platform on the territory from which it seems that we will constantly receive news requiring our special attention from a security point of view, ”Putin said.
Referring to what he described as a selective and politically motivated crackdown in Ukraine against some people doing business with Russia, Mr Putin said Moscow would not stand idly by.
“This is, of course, a problem that should always be on our radar and we should respond to it given the threats that are being created for us in a timely and appropriate manner,” Putin said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that the crackdown on Medvedchuk, which began in February when he and several associates were sanctioned and three ally-owned TV channels were kicked from the air, was a legal means of d ‘stifle what he described as his malevolent influence. .
“For the first time in many years, the number of oligarchs has not increased, but decreased. Minus Medvedchuk,” Zelenskiy wrote in a blog.
“With the help of legal tools, Medvedchuk was deprived of the ability to use media assets and state assets to openly attack the country and undermine state security.”
Relations between Moscow and Kiev collapsed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and Russian-backed separatists took control of part of eastern Ukraine that same year.
Tensions have erupted again in recent months after the two countries exchanged blame for renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine, and Russia, in what it called a defensive exercise, massed troops at its western border with Ukraine and Crimea.
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