Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has kept his promise and released a response to Putin's op-ed about the unity between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. Zelensky did not write an article of his own, but recorded a video message.
In his video address, Zelensky spoke about the Day of the Baptism of Rus. In his speech, which was timed to the date, he called Kievan Rus the mother of Ukrainian history, and 24 regions of Ukraine and Crimea — its children and heirs. In his opinion, such a position does not need any substantiation.
"We do not need to prove this with historical treatises, works or articles. Our evidence is not on paper - it is in metal and in rocks. It is not in myths and legends, but in our cities and on our streets,” Zelensky said.
The President stressed that Russia should not claim the role of a successor to Kievan Rus.
"Cousins and very distant relatives do not need to encroach on its legacy, nor do they need to prove their involvement in the history of thousands of years and thousands of events, being thousands of kilometers away from the places where they took place,” Zelensky said.
Earlier, Zelensky praised Putin's article and promised to respond to it soon. He also said that he would like to discuss some of its theses in person.
Putin's article On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians was published on the official website of the Kremlin on July 12. Among other things, the article touches upon such issues as the formation of Ukrainian national mindset and territorial problems in post-Soviet states.
State Duma deputy from Crimea Ruslan Balbek said that the response from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to Putin's article was "a stream of lies”.
Zelensky called Kievan Rus the mother of Ukrainian history, and 24 regions of Ukraine and Crimea — its children and heirs. According to Balbek, such views of the Ukrainian president suggest that Zelensky does not know the history of his country.
"Lies are pouring out from the mouth of the Ukrainian leader, because only a complete ignoramus in history could include the then-Byzantine Crimea into the Kievan Rus. Crimea is the cradle of Russian Orthodoxy, but it is certainly not one of the regions of the then Old Russian state. Crimea became part of Russia only during Catherine II crusades, and from that moment it became the Russian land forever,” Balbek said.
He also called Zelensky "a miserable politician who is entangled in his own lies" and accused him of attempts to substitute historical facts with the help of clever words.