The tough statements of the Russian leadership about Ukraine were merely a response to the level of national interests defense by the country.

According to an UNIAN correspondent, Yulia Tymoshenko claimed this to a press conference in the Cabinet of Ministers today, commenting on the information in mass media that incumbent Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called Ukraine “not a state”.

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“If this was really said, it indicates the utmost irritation with the fact that Ukraine began to defend its own national interests, defend its independence, and build its own strategy”, Yulia Tymoshenko said.

The Prime Minister also believes that the tough statements indicate also that Ukraine is becoming stronger as a state, playing its role in geo-political processes.

At the same time, Yulia Tymoshenko stressed that her assessment of the Putin’s statements is not official. “It is my personal view about the rumors that have been rife”, she noted.

As UNIAN reported earlier, During a closed session of the NATO summit in Bucharest, Russia`s President Vladimir Putin threatened that if Ukraine is offered NATO-membership, Russia may consider forcefully incorporating the eastern part of Ukraine and the Crimea into its territory.

 The news was reported by Russian daily Kommersant, which, quoting an anonymous source from one of the country’s delegation to the NATO summit, claims that Putin expressed this intention at a closed meeting last Friday. 

 According to the daily, Putin expressed a view that NATO`s expansion towards Russia`s borders is a palpable threat to the interests of his country, and declared that Moscow would take ‘appropriate counter-measures’.

 Putin allegedly made it clear that if Ukraine and Georgia are included in the Membership Action Plan (MAP), then Russia will acknowledge the independence of two of Georgia`s regions, Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia, thus creating a buffer zone between NATO forces and its own borders, and may initiate the process of incorporating eastern Ukraine and the Crimea into its territory.