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MINSK, April 30 /ITAR-TASS/. The United States was initially behind the events in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
“I think what is happening there now shows us who really managed the process from the start. But at first the United States preferred to stay in the background,” Putin told journalists when asked about his attitude toward America playing the lead in the situation around Ukraine.
He said the fact that now the United States is in the foreground in the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis shows that the US "led this process initially, but only displayed itself as the leader of this entire process now”.
Putin said that at first, the interests of the United States and its European partners coincided because the European Union “wanted to strike a well-known [association] agreement with Ukraine on terms that I believe were unprofitable for Ukraine”.
The previous Kiev government tried to fight it, but “the Western community followed another scenario, implementing the military scenario, an anti-constitutional coup, an armed seizure of power,” he said.
According to Putin, the events’ initiators did not calculate what they could lead to. The Russian president said that although many people in Ukraine “liked” such a coup, still “many [people] don’t like it, and they disagree with that form of power change”. He added that there is “nothing democratic” in that.
Putin not authorized response to the Western sanctions despite government proposials
Putin also said the Russian government proposed imposing sanctions against the United States and the European Union in response to their sanctions, but added that he has not authorized them yet.
“The government of the Russian Federation has already proposed some retaliatory steps. I think there’s not need,” the head of state told journalists.
However, he said, “if something like that continues, we will of course have to think about who and how works in the Russian Federation, in the key branches of Russia’s economy, including energy”.
“We would not like to resort to some steps, retaliatory measures, I hope there will be no need,” Putin said.
“People should be taken into account, their legal rights should be respected,” he said.
Crisis in Ukraine
The situation in Ukraine has been far from stable since a coup occurred in the country two months ago and new people were brought to power amid deadly riots triggered by President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the EU in November 2013 in order to study the deal more thoroughly.
Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns in February.
Russia does not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities, but the West says they are legitimate.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, signed reunification deals with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, which Kiev and Western countries do not recognize despite Russia’s repeated statements that the Crimean plebiscite was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and conformed to the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, pro-federalization protests against the new Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions.