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Vladimir Putin personally considering Ukraine a 'failed state', or 'not really a country', is a commonly accepted fact in ukrainian media. However I don't have an exact quote, and I couldn't find any records of him saying so. Surely there is a chance he wouldn't make such a claim in public, but on the other hand, if he did, it wouldn't be unlike him.

I'm looking for not merely a proof, but rather his justification, and how he builds up his argument. What points does he make to validate his case?

I know there is his "Crimean speech" from 2014, but I'm sure if that's what he believes, then he must have kept reiterating this point much earlier than 2014 in order to carry out the Crimean operation in the first place. Do you have any references from the top of your head? Searching here and on Google haven't produced much results, except from this acknowledgement of such narrative's reemergence in Russian media, and that this happens on a fertile ground in Russia, which is only an indirect confirmation.

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  • IIRC it was first made public in the West in some interview on some German TV (ARD maybe?)
    – Fizz
    May 2 at 9:00
  • Looking at the interview now again, he didn't quite say the words "failed state", but he argued at length about the coup(s), the nazi symbols used by Ukrainian nationalists etc.
    – Fizz
    May 2 at 9:34
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    I’m voting to close this question because questions about who said what fit better at Skeptics. In fact, there are many similar questions of this nature already there.
    – bytebuster
    May 2 at 9:34
  • For the matter of the claim, moscowian state propaganda outlet "Kommersant.ru" usually quote an unnamed source referring to 2008: "You understand, George [Bush], that Ukraine is not even a state!"
    – bytebuster
    May 2 at 9:40
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    Skeptics is a site for asking about specific and notable claims, basically questions like "This notable person/website/etc. said this thing, is it true". So, your question would only be on topic there if one of the articles you linked claimed that Putin himself called Ukraine a 'failed state'. However, your question seems on topic here since you're pretty much asking about a politician's views, though to get a more thorough answer you may want to focus it more on something like "Does Putin/Russian foreign policy have this view" rather than if he said specific words.
    – Giter
    May 2 at 16:00