Putin: Domestic crisis has split Ukrainian society

The anti-constitutional coup staged in Ukraine and attempts to artificially impose a choice between Europe and Russia on that country have pushed Ukrainian society toward a split, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

The anti-constitutional coup staged in Ukraine and attempts to artificially impose a choice between Europe and Russia on that country have pushed Ukrainian society toward a split, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"The acute crisis in this neighboring country seriously troubles us. The anti-constitutional coup in Kiev and attempts to artificially impose a choice between Europe and Russia on the Ukrainian people have pushed society toward a split and painful confrontation," the Russian leader said.

This conflict has primarily affected the civilian population of Ukraine's southeastern regions, he said.

"Bloodshed continues in the southeast of Ukraine, a real humanitarian catastrophe is taking place there and tens of thousands of refugees have been forced to seek shelter in Russia. Journalists who are fulfilling their professional duties have been killed and deliberately persecuted. In violation of all norms and conventions, attacks have been staged on diplomats, as it happened to the Russian Embassy in Kiev and the [Russian] Consulate General in Odessa," Putin said.

"We want the bloodshed to be brought to a full stop all over the conflict area, including and in particular along our borders," the Russian leader said.

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