Putin: Ukraine is not Russia-unfriendly

During his live Q&A session with Russian citizens, which is the 18th televised press conference for the Russian president, President Vladimir Putin answered questions about Ukraine and a possible meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

According to Putin, the Ukrainian president has fully transferred his country "under external management."

"Ukraine's key issues are not resolved not in Kiev — they get resolved in Berlin and Washington,” he said.

Speaking about a possible meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky, Putin said that he did not want to refuse from the meeting, but first one needs to have an idea of what to talk about."

On June 24, Vladimir Zelensky named the main topic for discussion with the Russian president. First and foremost, it will be the question of security, he said.

Russia and Ukraine are one, Putin says

Speaking about Russia's relations with Ukraine, Putin said that Ukraine was not a Russia-unfriendly country.

"I do not think that the Ukrainian people are unfriendly. I have said that many times and I can say it again,” Putin said.

In his opinion, Ukraine and Russia are one people. However, the Ukrainian administration is "clearly unfriendly" to Russia, Putin added.

In May, the Russian government published the list of Russia-unfriendly countries, which included only the United States and the Czech Republic. At the same time, the State Duma proposed adding three more states on the list: Georgia, Ukraine and Poland.

Some of Kiev's actions could be compared to the use of weapons of mass destruction in terms of their negative consequences, Putin said.

He referred to the adoption of the law on indigenous peoples, in which the Russians were not listed as an indigenous people of Ukraine. According to Putin, some of the people may push them to leave Ukraine, because they feel like second-class people, Putin said.

"This will lead to a reduction in the total number of the Russians. You know, this is comparable with the use of some kind of weapon of mass destruction in terms of negative consequences, this is a serious matter,” he said.

The Ukrainian authorities "are pushing the Russian language out of practical life"

"Everywhere there are enough narrow-minded people and extreme nationalists. They act from a pure heart, but not from a great mind. The result of their work is destructive,” Putin said.

In addition, the Russian president believes that the military development of the territory of Ukraine, which directly borders on Russia, creates significant security problems.

Speaking about the recent incident with HMS Defender of the British Navy, Putin said that it was a pure provocation. According to him, a reconnaissance plane had flown by collecting data before the destroyer entered.

"Therefore, we provided the data that we considered necessary. Maybe I let it slip, but the military will forgive me,” Putin added.

He also stressed that even if Russia had sunk the British destroyer, "it would be difficult to imagine that the world would have stood on the brink of a third world war."