Putin to EU President: I Can “Take Kiev in Two Weeks” if I Want to
The IBTimes reported:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a threat to outgoing European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso that he could “take Kiev in two weeks” if he wanted, Italian media reports have said.
According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Russian leader made the belligerent statement in a phone call with the outgoing EU leader, who is set to be replaced by Luxembourg’s former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker.
Despite the escalating tensions between all parties involved, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told negotiators in the Belarussian capital of Minsk that an “immediate ceasefire” is Russia’s priority.
However, both Ukraine and European Union member states accuse Russia of supporting the rebels fighting Kiev’s forces with military supplies and personnel in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of “direct and open aggression” in the eastern rebel-held cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Ukrainian forces have now withdrawn from Luhansk airport in the restive eastern region after firefights with pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine’s security council confirmed that the troops had withdrawn “in an organised manner”.
There are an estimated 10-15 thousand Russian military personnel operating in Ukraine today.