"The post-Soviet countries were forced to make a false choice either to be with the West or the East. Such a confrontation had to turn into a serious geopolitical crisis sooner or later. This happened in Ukraine, where the discontent of the population by the current government was used and the military takeover was externally provoked. The civil war broke out as a result," Putin said.
"We are convinced - it will be possible to stop the bloodshed, to break the deadlock only under full conscientious implementation of Minsk agreements of Feb. 12," he said.
"It is impossible to provide the integrity of Ukraine through threats, through force of arms, but it must be done. The interests of the people in the Donbas must be taken into account, their choice must be respected, the key elements of the political system of the state must be coordinated with them as it is envisaged by the Minsk agreements. This is the prerequisite of Ukraine's development as a civilized state, as a key link in the creation of a common space of security and economic cooperation both in Europe and Eurasia," Putin said.