Russia seeks peaceful solution to Ukrainian crisis - UN envoy
The Ukrainian crisis is of a domestic nature and Russia cannot be blamed for the situation in the county, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russian Security Council members. The Russian leader also added that there is a strong need to discuss how to build relations with friends and partners in Ukraine and partners in Europe and the US.
Russia did not initiate crisis over Ukraine - Putin
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia was not to blame for the crisis over Ukraine's Crimea region. At a meeting with paralympic delegations in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Putin thanked officials for keeping politics out of the Winter Paralympics being hosted by Russia.
"I would like to express my gratitude to you for keeping the Paralympics out of politics. And the uneasy circumstances which you well know about did not affect it. And I would like to stress that Russia was not the initiator of the circumstances that have taken shape," he said.
Crimea is to hold a referendum on Sunday on joining Russia, but Ukraine and Western leaders strongly oppose submitting the question to the people's will and claim the planned referendum is illegal.
Russia's Vladimir Putin has called the amount of Sochi Paralympic coverage unparalleled in global history. Speaking at a meeting with national Paralympic committees the Russian President said he would be glad to share this experience with all those involved in organizing and staging of the Games.
"The case in point is the creation of a transport infrastructure, logistics and sports infrastructure, as well as raising public and media awareness of these events," Putin said at the meeting.
"Speaking of which, TV broadcasting of Paralympic events in Sochi was unprecedented in the history of the Paralympic Games," he added.
Putin noted that the spirit of the Paralympics used to unite people of various backgrounds and had an important place in the life of every society. "The courage and human dignity of Paralympic athletes inspire and give us hope," the president underscored.
Putin pointed to progress that Russian Paralympians had made over the years. "I was glad to see them top the medal table. This breakthrough came as a result of, not least, fruitful cooperation between Russia’s Paralympic Committee, our sports federations for athletes with disabilities and their foreign partners," he stressed.
The President confirmed Russia’s commitment to go ahead with this kind of initiative. "We will continue to promote Russia as a major sport forum venue in the framework of the International Paralympic Committee, as well as a host for unofficial international Paralympic competitions".
More than 80 Russian cultural figures have signed a letter in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position on Ukraine and Crimea, the website of Russia’s Ministry of Culture reports.
"In the days, when the fate of Crimea and our compatriots is being decided, Russian cultural figures cannot be indifferent observers with cold hearts. Our common history and common roots, our culture and its spiritual sources, our fundamental values and language brought us together forever. We want the community of our peoples and our cultures to have a lasting future. That is why we firmly declare our support of the position of the President of the Russian Federation on Ukraine and Crimea," the message reads.
The letter was signed by the President of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Irina Antonova, Director of the State Literary Museum Dmitry Bak, people's artists of Russia Sergey Bezrukov, Vasily Lanovoy, Yuri Bashmet, Mikhail Boyarsky, Oleg Gazmanov, Sergei Govorukhin and Lev Leshchenko. The letter was also signed by film directors Fedor Bondarchuk, Pavel Lungin and Alexey Uchitel, Artistic Director of the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre Oleg Tabakov, General Director of Mosfilm Studios Karen Shakhnazarov, President of the Russian Academy of Arts Zurab Tsereteli, ballet dancer Nikolay Tsiskaridze.
Voice of Russia,