MOSCOW: Following are extracts from a televised speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine.
ON RECOGNITION OF PRO-RUSSIAN SEPARATISTS
"I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago - to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic."
ON THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BLOODSHED
"Those who seized power and keep power in Kyiv, we demand they stop the hostilities immediately. Otherwise, all the responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodbath will be on the conscience of the regime that is ruling in Kiev."
ON UKRAINE MEMBERSHIP OF NATO
"If Ukraine was to join NATO it would serve as a direct threat to the security of Russia."
ON ORIGINS OF MODERN UKRAINE
"Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia. This process began immediately after the revolution of 1917...
"As a result of Bolshevik policy, Soviet Ukraine arose, which even today can with good reason be called 'Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's Ukraine'. He is its author and architect. This is fully confirmed by archive documents ... And now grateful descendants have demolished monuments to Lenin in Ukraine.
This is what they call decommunisation. Do you want decommunisation? Well, that suits us just fine. But it is unnecessary, as they say, to stop halfway. We are ready to show you what real decommunisation means for Ukraine."