The Russian President has written a manifesto protesting a new law which came into force last Friday in Ukraine. The legislation highlights the central government’s responsibility in defending the rights of Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks – three minorities in the Crimea region.
These minorities are now seen as Russian citizens by Mr Putin following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In the 5,000-word article, Mr Putin refers to the Eastern European country as 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 that should be grateful to Russia for allowing it to exist.”
Mr Putin added: “I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”
His statement has sparked fresh fears of an armed conflict between the two nations following heightened tensions in Ukraine’s eastern border.
Over the past few months, Russia’s army has closed in on the border as pro-Russian rebels regularly clashed with Ukraine’s army.
In the manifesto, Mr Putin said Ukraine “simply does not need” the disputed Donbass region.