Putin To Zelensky: What About 40% Of Russian Speaking Ukrainian Citizens? No Schools For Them?

Will the problem of gas transit after January 1 be settled? I also have a question for the President of Russia. Why are you so strongly against Ukraine’s desire to control the border with Donbass during the elections? Is this really a stumbling block? Can the settlement of this problem help to launch the peace process in eastern Ukraine? Will you continue to offer explanations for the protection of Russian speakers now that Ukraine has a Russian-speaking president? Do you remember a popular children’s poem: “We have gas in our flat. And do you?” And you do have it too, and will have it. But it may cost you much less if we agree to work honestly together. It could cost 25 percent less than the end consumers, primarily industrial facilities, are paying now. Because the price of gas for household consumers is subsidised, and we cannot calculate [export] gas prices based on this subsidised price. This is ordinary economic logic. This is how it is. As for the border, Mr Zelensky and I have different positions on this issue. Our position is very simple: we stand for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. The Minsk Agreements say – you can read it for yourself – that Ukraine will be able to start restoring control over that territory, over that section of the border on day one after the local elections. This is what it says. And this process should end after the completion of a comprehensive political settlement. This is what the text of the agreement says. Why should the Minsk Agreements be reopened and revised? All the measures set out in that package are interconnected. If we revise one of them, this will lead to the revision of others and we will lose the agreements and create a situation where nothing can be done. This is our logic, and I believe that it is justified. Regarding Russian speakers. We do want Russian speakers, and not only in Donbass but throughout Ukraine, to have equal democratic rights. I would like to point out that 38 percent of Ukrainian citizens regard themselves as Russian speakers. However, all of the so-called Russian schools will convert to the Ukrainian language starting next year. By the way, as far as I know, the other [national minority] schools – Hungarian, Romanian and Polish – are to start the process in 2023. As if there are more Hungarian speakers than Russian speakers in Ukraine. You must admit that this raises questions to which we have no answers. But I hope that we will keep our focus on this issue, just as all the other pending problems. This is why we will meet in four months.

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