Russian President Vladimir Putin, making a surprise visit Friday to the disputed Crimea peninsula, condemned what he called “terrorist attacks” on the region by Ukraine but said the Kremlin did not intend to cut diplomatic ties with Kiev, Russian media reported.
Last week, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it thwarted “terrorist attacks” in Crimea allegedly mounted by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s main intelligence directorate, according to the Tass news agency. It said two Russian soldiers were killed in a purported cross-border raid.
“I think it’s obvious that Kiev’s current authorities are not seeking ways to solve problems through negotiations, but have turned to terrorism,” Putin said, calling the new development “alarming,” RT.com reported.
“We’re not going to cut our relations, despite the reluctance of the current authorities in Kiev to have full diplomatic ties at ambassador level,” he told members of the Security Council meeting in Sevastopol. “We nevertheless will create opportunities for the development of contacts and their support.”
It was Putin’s first public visit to the Crimea since it was forcibly annexed by Russia in 2014 in a move condemned by the U.S. and other Western countries. The visit comes one week after he discussed with the council additional security measures in the region, Tass reported.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin