Question: How do you view the first day since the declaration [Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s declaration of a ceasefire]?
Vladimir Putin: First, let us remember that we are talking about this matter on June 22, the day the Great Patriotic War began. I think that what is happening in Ukraine is an immense tragedy. People are being killed there, dying every day. So many years after the start of the Great Patriotic War, blood is being spilt on the former Soviet Union’s soil and this is a terrible thing. The fact that President Poroshenko has declared a ceasefire is without question an important step towards reaching a final settlement, and perhaps is one of the most important conditions for this to happen. Russia will certainly support these plans.
But ultimately, it is the political process that is most important. It is important that this ceasefire open the way to a dialogue between all of the parties to the combat, so as to find solutions that will be acceptable to all sides, in order to ensure that people in southeast Ukraine have no doubt that they are an integral part of the country, have the same rights as all other citizens, and know that these rights are guaranteed, including by Ukraine’s constitution. This requires a substantial and detailed dialogue. This is the key to success.
Unfortunately, objective monitoring shows that military operations have not ended, and just last night there was quite active artillery fire on the Ukrainian side. I cannot say who is actually responsible for this – regular army troops or the so-called armed units representing right-wing forces, but this activity is happening. What is needed is for all military operations to stop.