20 insurgents dead in latest Ukraine violence

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20 insurgents dead in latest Ukraine violence NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

Manju Shukla
Date  24/05/2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis would have a boomerang effect on the West.

Putin’s remarks came as other Russian leaders accused the West of triggering the crisis, and as sporadic violence gripped parts of eastern Ukraine ahead of Sunday’s national elections.

Speaking at an international business forum in St. Petersburg, Putin mostly addressed economic matters, including the signing of a massive gas deal with China earlier this week. But he also criticized the situation in Ukraine, calling it for the first time a “full-scale civil war.”

Putin blasted Western involvement, saying the U.S. vision of a “unipolar” world had failed. He hailed European countries for taking a more “pragmatic” approach to Russia than the United States. Many countries in the European Union, heavily reliant on Russian gas supplies, have been more reluctant than Washington to impose tough sanctions on Russia.

Putin hinted at the strain between Ukraine and Russia over natural gas. The crisis in Ukraine intensified in December, when Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych signed a multibillion-dollar gas deal with Russia that gave Ukraine discounted gas – a move that rattled protestors calling for closer ties with Europe. Yanukovich was ousted in February. Now, Russia is making Ukraine pay up-front and at higher rates for its gas.

“We have supplied gas to Ukraine and not been paid,” Putin said through a translator. “Who would supply gas to Ukraine free of charge? There must be some red lines … Give us our money back.”

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