Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the Kerch Strait standoff was a planned provocation by Ukraine.
During a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday, Putin touched upon several issues, as he voiced Moscow’s points of view over them.
Kerch Strait Incident
Speaking on the topic of Kerch Strait incident, the Russian strongman said that Moscow plans to present the evidence of Kiev’s provocative actions in Black Sea down in form of legal documents.
“We have outlined our position and the very timeline of events. You can’t argue against it. How can you argue when it is written in the very ship logs that these ships were on a mission to slip into our territorial waters and through the Kerch Strait… It is a planned provocation. This is evident from the documents and sailors’ testimony. There’s nothing to argue about,” he told reporters on the G20 sidelines.
He noted meanwhile, that the exchange of the detained Ukrainian sailors was not discussed, as Kiev had not suggested it, and added that the investigation was under way.
“The issue about the swap has not been raised yet, including by the Ukrainian side. But it’s too early to discuss this while the probe is underway. We need to confirm the provocative nature of actions by the Ukrainian authorities and put it down in legal papers… We need complete confessions by sailors,” he said.
On the other hand, Putin said he briefed his US counterpart Donald Trump on the Ukraine crisis, noting that he explained Moscow’s position to Trump when the leaders met briefly at a summit dinner Friday.
“We spoke standing up. I replied to his questions about the incident in the Black Sea,” Putin told the reporters.
Putin also hoped that meeting with Trump to be held when American side is ready. He added that he regrets missing out on the full-fledged meeting with Trump which, he said, is long overdue. Putin said that he sets no preconditions for potential meeting with Trump.
“It’s a pity we could not have a full-fledged meeting because I believe it is long overdue. I’m talking about issues of strategic stability in the light of the president’s announcement that he plans to pull the US from the INF treaty,” Putin said.
On the other hand, Putin said that Russia and Turkey are concerned about the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, hoping that the joint efforts of the defense ministries and special services of the two nations will result in solving the situation and creating a demilitarized zone in the area as soon as possible.
“We hope that our special services and the defense ministries will resolve this issue via joint efforts as soon as possible,” he added.
UK’s Comparison of Russia to Terrorist Organization
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian president slammed the United Kingdom, saying London compares Russia to a terrorist organization to “score points” among UK voters.
“I think that when such comparisons are made and Russia is mixed up with terrorists, this behavior should rest on the conscience of those who make them… As for terrorism, Russia is probably the main contributor to the fight against terror. Such remarks usually aim to show toughness of a certain politician and to score points with the population of one’s own country,” Putin told reporters in Buenos Aires.
Nevertheless, he hoped that Moscow and London will be able to set on the path of positive development of bilateral relations as soon as possible.
“The United Kingdom is an important partner for us. We hope that, one day, — based on the fact that this should happen as soon as possible, — we will be able to overcome the difficulties existing in our relations and ultimately reach a trend of positive cooperation in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation,” Putin said.