Interfax: Putin visits Crimea, says Ukraine’s future is “together with Russia”
(Interfax – Yalta, August 17, 2015)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Russians and Ukrainians one people and expressed confidence that Ukraine will overcome its problems and come out of “external administration”.
“I consider Russians and Ukrainians generally to be one people,” he said at a meeting with representatives of ethnic public organizations of the Republic of Crimea.
“I am confident that, despite all the difficulties of the current period, the situation in Ukraine will improve, Ukraine will develop positively and move away from the shameful practice we are witnessing today, namely a huge European country having been placed under external administration, with key positions in the government and the regions taken up by foreign citizens,” he added.
Putin called this situation humiliating for the Ukrainian people.
“The Ukrainian people will definitively make an assessment of this, and Ukraine will get back on its feet and develop positively, bui! lding its future together with Russia,” he said.
Putin also said that the Ukrainians are the third largest ethnic group in Russia after the Russians and the Tatars.
“There are five million Tatars living in Russia and three million Ukrainians, not including those staying (in Russia) on a temporary basis and considered to be citizens of Ukraine. There are already about three million such people as well, the overwhelming majority of them males of conscription age,” he said.