War With Neighbouring Ukraine Is ‘Unlikely’ – Putin

Channels Television  
Updated February 24, 2015

putinRussian President Vladimir Putin has said war with neighboring Ukraine is “unlikely.”

Vladimir Putin was being interviewed on state television when he was asked if he expected a war between the two countries.

In his interview – his first extended comments since the ceasefire deal was agreed on 12 February – Mr Putin was asked if there was a real threat of war, given the situation in eastern Ukraine.

“I think that such an apocalyptic scenario is unlikely and I hope this will never happen,” he said.

Mr Putin said that if the Minsk agreement was implemented, eastern Ukraine would “gradually stabilise”.

“Europe is just as interested in that as Russia. No-one wants conflict on the edge of Europe, especially armed conflict,” he said.

Ukraine said Russian troops had been fighting in Ukraine, a claim Mr Putin repeated denied.

Mr Putin also said he did not see the need for another meeting with France, Germany and Ukraine on peace in the region and that he hoped the accords agreed to in Minsk would be respected.

He added that the four countries trust each other “on the whole”.

Mr Putin’s words came after Ukraine had halted the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, blaming continuing attacks from pro-Russian rebels.

However, Ukraine claimed there had been attacks against its forces and is now refusing to budge.

Lieutenant Colonel Anatoliy Stelmakh said the retreat would not proceed until rebel attacks stop entirely – something that was supposed to occur from 15 February.

Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are meeting in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the ceasefire.

On Monday, Ukraine’s military said rebel shelling had prevented them withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line.