Por Vladimir Poutine, the Russian-speaking populations in the war-torn eastern Ukraine, an area currently at the heart of new tensions between Moscow and the West, are suffering from “Russophobia”. A “first step towards genocide”, argued the Russian president, Thursday, December 9, during a meeting with the Presidential Council for Human Rights, Thursday, December 9. And to add: “This is what is happening at the moment in the eastern Ukraine at war, we can see it, we know it”.
“This of course looks like the genocide you spoke of”, he continued, in response to a Russian-Ukrainian journalist, Kirill Vyshinsky, asking him to introduce the concepts of genocide and incitement to genocide in the legislation. Russian. This journalist, imprisoned in 2018 and 2019 in Ukraine, affirmed that “Russian-speakers and members of the Russian people” in the Donbass were experiencing “unbearable” living conditions. He also compared the situation there to the crimes of the Holocaust.
An area torn for 7 years
These statements come at a time when eastern Ukraine is once again at the center of major international tensions, with the West accusing Moscow of having massed tens of thousands of soldiers with a view to a possible attack on that country. For seven years, this area has been torn by a war between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists. This conflict has left more than 13,000 dead and its political settlement, provided for in the Minsk accords of 2015, is at an impasse. Russia is considered the main military and financial support of these rebels, despite its denials.
Russian authorities and Russian state media regularly accuse Kiev of fueling this conflict by following a discriminatory policy against Russian-speaking populations, which the Ukrainian government firmly denies. In 2015, Vladimir Poutine had already affirmed that the refusal of the Ukrainian authorities to deliver gas to the separatist regions of the east made one think of a “genocide”. Four years later, he argued that Kiev’s takeover of these territories could lead to a situation similar to the Srebrenica genocide in 1995 in Bosnia.