Speaking in annexed Crimea, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia would stand up for itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside world, a conciliatory note after months of tough rhetoric over the crisis in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech near Yalta, Crimea, Aug. 14, 2014.
Putin was addressing Russian ministers and members of parliament in the peninsula, the southern Ukrainian region annexed by Russia in March—a stage that led many people to anticipate a major announcement about Ukraine.
But the tone of Putin’s comments was low-key and he avoided the kind of barbs that he has previously directed at Western countries during the crisis, which has dragged East-West relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.
We must calmly, with dignity and effectively, build up our country, not fence it off from the outside world,” Putin said. “We need to consolidate and mobilize but not for war or any kind of confrontation … for hard work in the name of Russia.”
He added: “We will do everything in our power so that this conflict is ended as soon as possible, so that the blood can stop flowing in Ukraine.”