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Vladimir Putin: Ukraine crisis caused by West


President Vladimir Putin has renewed the blame on the West for the Ukrainian crisis, as he works on Franco-German proposals to end fighting between the government and pro-Russia rebels.

Western countries had broken pledges not to expand NATO and forced countries to choose between them and Russia, Vladimir Putin told an Egyptian newspaper.

The comments come amid new hopes of a peace deal on February 11.

Russia denies accusations of sending troops and supplying the rebels.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 5,300 lives and driven 1.5 million people from their homes.

At least nine Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours, officials say.

Photo RT

Photo RT

Fighting is said to be intense around the town of Debaltseve, near the rebel-held city of Donetsk.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to brief President Barack Obama in Washington on February 9 on the peace plan Germany and France have tried to reach with Ukraine and Russia.

The Washington talks come as the US considers sending weapons to the Ukrainian government.

Angela Merkel told a security conference at the weekend that she could not “imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily”.

Secretary of State John Kerry has denied any rift with EU leaders, saying: “I keep hearing people trying to create one. We are united, we are working closely together.”

Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have been leading efforts to revive the Minsk peace plan, which collapsed amid fighting over the winter.

The detailed proposals have not been released but the plan is thought to include a demilitarized zone of 50-70km (31-44 miles) around the current front line.

The four leaders have announced plans to meet in Minsk on February 11 – provided agreement is reached in the meantime in talks in Berlin.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on February 9 there were hopes for a settlement but nothing had been agreed.

At the start of a visit to Egypt, President Putin renewed his attack on Western countries for their “hollow” promises not to expand NATO to include former Soviet countries, and therefore ignoring Russian interests.

There had been attempts, Vladimir Putin told Egypt’s al-Ahram newspaper, “to tear states which had been parts of the former USSR [Soviet Union] off Russia and to prompt them to make an artificial choice <<between Russia and Europe>>”.

“We repeatedly warned the US and its Western allies about harmful consequences of their interference in Ukrainian domestic affairs but they did not listen to our opinion,” the Russian leader said.

Vladimir Putin went on to accuse them of supporting a “coup d’etat in Kiev” – a reference to the ousting of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last year.

Viktor Yanukovych lost power amid protests over his decision to scrap a deal that would have seen Ukraine establish closer ties with the European Union.

Since then, Russia has annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula and rebels in the east have sought to establish full control over the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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Roy likes politics. Knowledge is power, Roy constantly says, so he spends nearly all day gathering information and writing articles about the latest events around the globe. He likes history and studying about war techniques, this is why he finds writing his articles a piece of cake. Another hobby of his is horse – riding.