Extracts from a televised speech on Monday night by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
ON ORIGINS OF MODERN UKRAINE
"Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia. This process began immediately after the revolution of 1917...
“As a result of Bolshevik policy, Soviet Ukraine arose, which even today can with good reason be called ‘Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Ukraine’. He is its author and architect. This is fully confirmed by archive documents... And now grateful descendants have demolished monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. This is what they call decommunisation. Do you want decommunisation? Well, that suits us just fine. But it is unnecessary, as they say, to stop half way. We are ready to show you what real decommunisation means for Ukraine.”
ON UKRAINIAN STATEHOOD
“Ukraine never had a tradition of genuine statehood.”
ON BREAK-UP OF USSR
“Russia assumed obligations to repay the entire Soviet debt in return for the newly independent states giving up part of their foreign assets. In 1994, such agreements were reached with Ukraine, but they were not ratified by Ukraine...
“[Ukraine] preferred to act in such a way that in relations with Russia they had all the rights and advantages, but did not bear any obligations...
“From the very first steps they began to build their statehood on the denial of everything that unites us. They tried to distort the consciousness, the historical memory of millions of people, entire generations living in Ukraine.”
ON RECOGNITION OF PRO-RUSSIAN SEPARATISTS
“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago – to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.”
ON THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BLOODSHED
"Those who seized power and keep power in Kyiv, we demand they stop the hostilities immediately. Otherwise, all the responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodbath will be on the conscience of the regime that is ruling in Kiev. "
ON UKRAINE MEMBERSHIP OF NATO
"If Ukraine was to join Nato it would serve as a direct threat to the security of Russia." – Reuters