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Putin about Leonid Kuchma (1994-2004)
2004: With Leonid Kuchma, Vladimir Putin began to cooperate in 2000. He answered a question of whether the Ukrainian president consulted with him about whether to go for the third presidential term or not:
"Leonid Danylovich Kuchma is older than me not only by age and life experience but as well by political experience as he was a director of the largest and very respected in the Soviet Union enterprise Yuzhmash. This is, you know, a giant of Soviet manufacture, and it’s me who probably should consult with him on some issues. Of course, we are discussing many problems with each other. We talked about the situation that is developing in Ukraine also. Leonid Danylovich never, I want to stress this, never brought up the question of his third term and he always spoke about securing the law and order during the presidential elections, in which he himself did not intend to take part."
We recall that in 2003 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine confirmed that the former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma could run for a third term, since the Constitution, which provides only two presidential terms in a row, was adopted in 1996, while Kuchma at first held the presidential post in 1994. Thus, under the new Constitution, Kuchma was elected for the first time in the 1999 elections.
Putin about Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010)
2004: Although during the presidential elections in Ukraine, Putin supported Viktor Yanukovych and even twice congratulated him on winning the election even before the announcement of official results, on the eve of the third round of voting, on December 26, he said that he had "very good relations with Yushchenko" and that Russia is ready "to accept any decision of Ukrainian people and work with any president of Ukraine."
2005: Viktor Yushchenko made his first foreign visit to Moscow, where Putin warmly greeted the new president: "We are very glad to see you, we welcome you to Russia ... With a new leader many things in domestic politics, and indeed in the external policies look different, but we expect that the choice that has been made by the Ukrainian and Russian peoples for rapprochement, for the development of relations, will remain unchanged, and in this sense, we count on the continuity of politics. "
However, the period from 2006 to 2009 was remembered by intensive "gas wars" between Ukraine and Russia.
2006: During the press conference following the meeting with Yushchenko, Putin expressed himself as follows:
"We are very pleased to state that for many years of relations with Ukraine we now have people in Kyiv who are doing what they are saying ... I view our today's talks with Viktor Yushchenko as a kind of impetus for Russian-Ukrainian cooperation, enriched by a new successful experience in solving problematic issues, relations between our countries have acquired an additional development potential in ascending order. "
2008: On the eve of Putin's meeting with the Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, an incident occurred. The Yushchenko's plane, on which he was supposed to fly to Lviv, made an emergency landing. The president moved to a reserve aircraft and flew to Lviv. Tymoshenko said that the president used the plane, which was intended for her flight to Moscow. As a result, she had to go to Russia by charter flight.
2009: During a press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Putin again joked in response to a question about what he thought the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Viktor Yushchenko were discussing.
"The soldiers remembered the past days and battles that they lost together," Putin said.
In addition, Putin advised the two presidents to have dinner without ties:
"It's better for two presidents to have dinner without ties. Ties are now in price... Yushchenko's guests can eat his tie," Putin continued joking, hinting at a well-known video with Saakashvili during the Russian-Georgian war.
Putin on Viktor Yanukovych (2010-2014)
2010: "With your coming to the presidency, the relations between Russia and Ukraine have radically changed qualitatively," Putin said in Istanbul at a meeting with Viktor Yanukovych.
2013: Putin (appointed as aPresident once again ) during the meeting in Sochi with Yanukovych welcomed him as follows:
"Viktor Fedorovich, I am very glad to see you and to discuss new opportunities for our bilateral relations on trade and economy and our cooperation within the framework of the CIS in an informal atmosphere. We traditionally have a large number of relations - political contacts, economic ties, humanitarian issues. As usual in these cases, we have something to talk about. Thank you for accepting the invitation and finding time to visit. I am very pleased to see you," Putin said.
2013: Putin thanked Yanukovych for the opportunity to participate in the celebration on the occasion of the 1025th anniversary of the Christening of Rus:
"I am pleased to note that we have personal contacts and good contacts at the government level, we have many joint issues to be resolved, and tomorrow another meeting will be held. This will be a common holiday thanks to you and we will be able to discuss important issues of cooperation in the field of security ".
Putin on Petro Poroshenko (2014)
2014: On the eve of Peter Poroshenko's inauguration, Putin stated that Poroshenko "has not yet got his hands dirty with blood":
"There is a punitive operation of the central authorities against their people, this is not a war between states, these are different things ... I think that Mr. Poroshenko has a unique chance: he did not get his hands dirty with blood yet and he can suspend this punitive operation and begin a direct dialogue with his citizens in the east and south of their country. "
2014: Following the talks with Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Putin noted that he considers Poroshenko "a partner with whom the dialogue can be conducted."
2015: During the "direct line" Putin said that he urged Poroshenko "not to start military operations in Donbas":
"Petro Poroshenko was elected, he had a chance to make peaceful attempts to resolve issues with people in Donbas, negotiate with them, and we persuaded him - I say "we ", it was in the so-called Norman format conversation - I tried to persuade him not to start military operations, to undertake at least an attempt to agree. But no, the fighting began."
2017: During the solemn event on the European Square on the occasion of the introduction of a visa-free regime with the European Union, President Poroshenko cited Mikhail Lermontov's poem "Farewell, unwashed Russia". Vladimir Putin during the "direct line" used 7 minutes for his answer, which can be briefly summarized by such a quote:
"If somebody wants to be a European, first let him close accounts in offshore zones, and then let him talk about the people's wellbeing."