World / Europe

Putin accuses Kiev, West of provoking insurgent offensive

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-01 18:19

MOSCOW - The recent offensive of anti-government insurgents in eastern Ukraine was provoked by Kiev's actions and the West's refusal to get to the root of the situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.

"The objective of the militias is to pull (government) armed forces and artillery away to deprive them of the possibility to shell residential areas," Putin said during a visit to North-East Federal University in the Siberian city of Yakutsk.

He said the militias' principal task is to save the residents of the cities in Donbass, the informal name of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.

Fighting has spread south-west from the heartland of Donbass, with insurgents advancing along the shoreline of the Sea of Azov.

"In Europe and in many countries they prefer not to see that," the Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying, who added that Kiev authorities do not want to conduct a substantial dialogue with the east of the country.

On Sunday, Putin told Russia's Channel One Television that "inclusive talks" should be immediately launched on the social structure and state system in southeastern Ukraine.

He suggested that Western countries should think about "their own ideals" of democratic values when judging the situation in Ukraine.

The armed conflict in southeastern Ukraine between government troops and independence-seeking militias, which erupted in March, have claimed at least 2,200 lives, with hundreds of thousands others displaced.

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