30 August 2014
The Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence.
Foreign military attaches examine a Russian weapons cache seized by Ukrainian forces from pro-Russian separatists in Kiev on Friday. — AFPPresident Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia’s armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: “It’s best not to mess with us.”
Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.
Ukraine, and Western governments, accuse Russia of sending troops and armour to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge.
“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he said at the camp on the banks of Lake Seliger. “We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.
“Russia’s partners...should understand it’s best not to mess with us,” said Putin. “Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”
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