Putin reiterated that there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine, despite contrary evidence from the Ukrainian leadership
Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that he could conquer Kiev „in two weeks” during a telephone conversation that he had with the President of The European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, according to Huffington Post’s online edition.
Putin, who reiterated that there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine despite contrary evidence from the Ukrainian leadership, was defiant during the last few days on Moscow’s right to protect its interests in the country.
La Repubblica, the Italian daily paper, reported that during a conversation with Barroso, Putin stated: “If I wanted to, I could take Kiev in two weeks”.
His comments, reported by Barroso to its fellow colleagues at the EU summit last week, occurred at the same time in which NATO is planning to build a new rapid-response force with up to 4.000 soldiers who can reach Eastern Europe in 48h to respond to a possible Russian aggression.
The Russian leader was equally aggressive when a BBC reported asked him if he “regretted the crimes in Ukraine”. Trying to defend himself, he replied in Russian: “What is the purpose and the meaning of the present military operation in the East? And what caused the escalation of their activities” said the president. “They were determined by the fact that Ukrainian troops are attacking civilian areas, are targeting residential areas. This is what many countries, even from Europe, prefer not to notice, unfortunately” he added.
The President was clearly irritated by the confrontation, stopping the translator mid-sentence one time, to answer the reporter directly in English.