On June 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin is participating in the annual Direct Line Q&A session in Moscow. During the session, people have the opportunity to contact him via telephone, text message or social media.
Answering a question about a possible Kiev offensive on the self-proclaimed republics (the DPR and the LPR) in eastern Ukraine while Russia is hosting the June 14-July 15 soccer World Cup, Putin send a stern warning that any such offensive would have “grave consequences for Ukrainian statehood.”
“I hope that things won’t get to such provocations but if that does happen, I think that it will have very dire consequences for Ukrainian statehood as a whole,” he said.
“What is happening on these territories is, of course, sad. But this, by the way, also says that the current Ukrainian leadership is not able to solve this problem,” Putin said adding that Kiev is trying to solve this problem, “considering these territories its own” and at the same time “organizing a complete blockade of these territories”.
He added that people who are considered as Ukraine’s citizens are subjected to shelling.
“Civilians are suffering – notably, civilians. And now, OSCE representatives record an increase in these attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces. Why do this, when you just need to follow the Minsk agreements? It is simply ridiculous from the point of view of realizing the final result of restoring the territorial integrity of the country. The longer and the further this happens, the worse the situation for Ukraine,” Putin added.
Separately, citing Albert Einstein as saying that the World War IV would be fought with “stones and sticks,” the Russian president said that a World War III would mean the end of civilization and accused the US of undermining the parity that helps avert nuclear conflict.