"Russia's national interests will benefit if Ukraine recovers from the political and economic crisis, and the country is actually in a deep political and economic crisis," Putin said speaking at an investment forum.
Russia, he said, seeks to have a "reliable, predictable partner and neighbor" near it.
"Ukraine is not a foreign country for us. The Ukrainians have always been and will remain the closest fraternal nation for us despite all the tragedy we are observing, especially in the south-east," the head of the Russian Federation said.
Russia and Ukraine are bound by ethnic, spiritual, religious and historical communality, Putin said.
"I hope that we will develop our relations in the future, bearing on these fundamental principles of our cooperation. And we will do our best to make it happen as soon as possible," Putin said.
It was reported that a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the situation in the east of Ukraine took place the day before. During the conversation, Putin emphasized "the need to prevent further attacks on civilian targets by the Ukrainian troops in the east of Ukraine." The two leaders also called for the early arrangement and implementation of agreements on the Ukrainian gas problem.
At the same time, Russia continues to pull troops to the Ukrainian border.