Putin has changed a bit his discourse on Ukraine and now says that “the presidential election the Kiev authorities plan to hold is a step in the right direction”. He said so in a press conference after a meeting with the President of Switzerland and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter in the Kremlin. Putin urged also to the pro-Russian separatists in southeast Ukraine to “hold off” the referendum they had scheduled for May 11, next Sunday, before the presidential election set for May 25.

This came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a joint press conference with the EU Foreign High Representative Catherine Ashton that “if Russian elements continue to sabotage the democratic process and prevent Ukraine from holding a free and fair election 19 days from now on the 25th, then we stand ready to implement additional sanctions. And the “we” is Europe and the United States together.”

Putin considers that postpone the referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk would give a chance to the dialogue. “We think the most important thing now is to launch direct dialogue, genuine, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine. This dialogue could give people from southeast Ukraine the chance to see that their lawful rights in Ukraine really will be guaranteed.” he said.

Too late for a call when the situation on the ground is a military operation going on against self-proclaimed popular republics that have all ready for the referendum to be held in just four days.

In fact, the separatists said today they will go ahead with the referendum of auto determination in Donetsk and Luhansk this Sunday anyway, according to the agency RIA Novosti.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. I am not very good at this political stuff, but as our Swiss minister Didier Burkhalter is now involved I have been following this for some time. First of all, I was of the opinion from the beginning that we should leave the Russians to themselves with their ukrainien problems. We in Europe have no idea how it is to live in Russia, be confronted with their problems and make decisions. At the moment we are all running around like headless chickens crying about having no gas. OIbama and Europe talk about sanctions. Mr. Obama keepd quiet, you have no gas from the Ukraine and don’t tell the Europeans what to do. Vladimir Putin is not my favourite man, but he is not stupid, speaks many languages and is concerned for his country. The Russians now active in the Ukrain I do not believe are from Putin, but just a few rebels, supported by Tscherchanian forces, that have decided to take over. Although Putin has now decided to draw back, I think Burkhalter gave him a welcome hand, as slowly the situation was slipping out of his clutches. I have a Ukraninian friend, she was visiting her family before Easter, and they visited her during Easter. Her mother is Ukrainien her father Russian and lives in the West. She says conditions are getting out of hand and to let Putin get on with it. She is not happy about her country being split in the middle, but she is also not happy about the situation of her family. Hostages were taken, OSCE members, and Burkhalter was expected to get them released. He said in an interview on the TV he has to have them released, and he did not even send them. Luckily Putin stepped in and got it sorted. Perhaps my ideas are not so good, but that is how I see it, so leave it to the Russians and the Ukraiiens (and I am not a supporter of extreme right wing governments, as that of Ukraine)

  2. Me neither. Very interesting comment. The problem here is that the EU is involved from the beginning of the crisis, before the fall of Yanukovich. Now they cannot say they have nothing to do with what’s going on.

  3. They should just let the russians get on with it because it seems to me that the Europeans had no idea of the extreme right wing direction of the Ukrainien goverment. They promised support, donated a few thousand euro to help the Ukrainiens financially and are surprised when Putin threatens to cut the gas off in Europe. I also read somewhere that the Nato did not keep their promises made to Russia and Russia is very disappointed. As i said i am not such an expert, but for me it is something that we Europeans cannot judge or understand.

  4. Maybe you’ve read that NATO is considering permanently stationing troops in Eastern Europe after the annexation of Crimea. Some bordering countries former members of the Warsaw Pact are nervous seeing the Kremlin expanding its territory taking it from one of the former members of the Soviet Union, now technically sovereign. They fear Russia.
    I think the Ukrainians should decide, but right now there are no conditions to conduct fair elections with the country split in two and bloody confrontations going on. They are in a dire situation.

  5. Yes that is it, Putin is not happy about the NATO troops getting too near to the Russian borders.. . My friend in the Ukraine says she is sure these renegade troops in the Ukraine are not from Putin. He would have done the job on a more professional basis. Whether there will be elections is in the stars, but it would not be a good idea at the moment. There was a television discussion on German tV yesterday and it was mentioned that Burkhalter had become a Putin “puppet”. What else should he have done – called out a few sactions? I think he did a good job under the circumstances. Dober Dan – have a nice day.

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About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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