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Russian president Vladimir Putin has blamed the resurgence of hostilities in eastern Ukraine on the Kiev government, accusing Ukraine of an unwillingness to abide by the terms of the Minsk ceasefire agreement.
“The Ukrainian leadership wants money, it needs money right now and you can best get money from the EU, certain European countries, the US and financial institutions if you portray yourself as a victim of aggression,” Mr Putin told reporters in Budapest, at a joint press conference with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.
Seven government soldiers and an estimated 15 Russian-backed militants were killed in weekend fighting near Donetsk, in the breakaway Donbass region. Mr Putin accused Kiev of violating the ceasefire agreement and said it was seeking to gain the support of US president Donald Trump.
“In the US elections the current Ukrainian leadership supported just one candidate and the oligarchs even funded that candidate – the female candidate – and somehow now they have to settle relations with new president.”
Mr Putin was speaking after a bilateral meeting with Mr Orban which touched on energy and political relations, including the conflict in Ukraine.
The two leaders renewed their commitment to plans for a $12bn Russian-financed and designed nuclear power plant at Paks, which the EU is expected to approve shortly.