The Russian president wrote a manifesto to protest against a new law that came into force last Friday in Ukraine. The legislation emphasizes the responsibility of the central government in defending the rights of the Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks – three minorities in the Crimean region.
In the 5,000-word article, Mr. Putin calls the Eastern European country an “artificial creation”.
He wrote: “There is no such thing as a separate Ukrainian people. They are one with the Russians.
“The state of Ukraine is an artificial creation, a fluke of history which should be grateful to Russia for allowing it to exist. “
His statement sparked new fears of an armed conflict between the two nations following heightened tensions on Ukraine’s eastern border.
In recent months, the Russian military has closed at the border as pro-Russian rebels regularly clash with the Ukrainian army.
In the manifesto, Mr. Putin said Ukraine “just doesn’t need” the contested Donbass region.