Russian President Vladamir Putin referred to territories in east Ukraine as “Novorussia,” or “New Russia,” and asserted Russia’s ties to the area in a televised question-and-answer session on Thursday.
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“Can a compromise be found on the Ukrainian question between Russia and America?” Putin asked. “Compromise should only be found in Ukraine. The question is to ensure the rights and interests of the Russian southeast.
“It’s new Russia. Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in czarist times, they were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows. Then for various reasons these areas were gone, and the people stayed there — we need to encourage them to find a solution,” Putin said.
Novorussia, a term increasingly used by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, refers to an area north of the Black Sea that was gradually conquered by Russia in the late 18th century through peace treaties with the Cossack Hetmanate and the Ottoman Empire. In 1922 it was made part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union.
The area, which has a majority ethnic Russian population, is caught in a standoff between militant separatists and Ukrainian forces.
Putin has asserted Russia’s right to intervene militarily if the local population is at risk, while saying he wants a diplomatic resolution.#
(plate picture-novorussia fighters)