Russian President Vladimir Putin says he does not see a desire by the Ukrainian government to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine through dialogue.
Speaking in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Putin said the “so-called winners” of the Cold War have overturned what he called the traditional “world order of checks and balances.” Instead, the Kremlin leader said, Washington is trying to direct the world by “unilateral diktat” or decree – a favorite term of Moscow’s during the Cold War.
Putin linked his theory of Western political ambitions to the Ukraine crisis. He suggested that the U.S. and its partners were responsible for what he called a “state coup” in Ukraine that ousted the country’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who had strong ties to Russia. Yanukovych was driven out of Kyiv by a wave of popular protests at the beginning of this year, and Putin said that plunged Ukraine “into chaos [and] civil war, with huge casualties.”
He spoke Friday following a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel’s office said she stressed the need for full implementation of the cease-fire agreement reached between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine’s government in September.
The Kremlin, for its part, said Putin during the phone call emphasized the need to “de-escalate” the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, ensuring security along the line separating the opposing sides and providing humanitarian assistance.
Also Friday, Putin accused the United States of endangering global security by – in his words – upsetting the international system of “checks and balances.”
Washington and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March and for supporting the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
On Friday, NATO’s military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, was quoted by Reuters as saying some Russian forces remain inside Ukraine despite a partial withdrawal.