Putin tells Merkel Kyiv must ‘buy militants off in ‘Chechen’ scenario’
Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel Kyiv should buy off the militants in eastern Ukraine to resolve the conflict in the country, according to Ukrainian newspaper Evropeiska Pravda.
Putin was alleged to have said this during the talks in Brisbane, UK business newspaper the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, with reference to its own sources.
According to the report, Merkel sought to hear from Putin what he really wanted in order to reach an agreement to resolve the Donbas conflict.
In response, the Russian President said that Kyiv had to cope with the militants as he dealt with the separatists in Chechnya: he bought them off with autonomy and money.
According to the sources of the publication, Merkel rejected the idea. The very next day, the German chancellor adopted a harsher tone in her comments, saying that Russia could threaten not only Ukraine, but also Georgia or the Balkans.
According to one Russian official, the negotiations in Brisbane were a defining point for the Russian side.
"Putin and Merkel have never been able to stand each other," he told the FT.
"Of course, they are professionals - that’s why they had to appear to be friendly for a long period of time. But it seems that now everything has changed," he added.