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Putin advises Merkel, Hollande to delve into essence of Ukrainian settlement

The leaders of Germany and France, participating in the 'Normandy format' of the Ukrainian crisis settlement, should more thoroughly delve into the nuances and not demand from Moscow the things that should be done by Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the German daily Bild, calling accusations against Russia the theatre of the absurd.

"Our European partners — both German Chancellor [Angela Merkel] and French President [Francois Hollande] — should somehow delve more into these problems, I think," Putin said.

"Everybody says that it is necessary to fulfil the Minsk agreements by all means, and then the sanctions' issue may be reconsidered", the Russian president said. "Believe me, it is assuming the theater of the absurd nature now, because the main thing that must be done to execute the Minsk agreements is the responsibility of Kiev's current authorities", he said, adding that it is impossible to "demand from Moscow the things that should be done by Kiev."

The Russian president showing the journalist the text of the Minsk agreements explained in what sequence the points agreed upon in them should be implemented. "It's clearly written there that the constitutional reform should be carried out, and it's not Moscow that should take these decisions!" he said. "First, the constitutional reform, the political processes, and then on the basis of these processes an atmosphere of trust should be created and all the processes, including the closure of the border should be completed," Putin said.

The Russian president said he understood his colleagues' busy schedule. "I think they have a lot of their problems, but once we take upon this issue, it is necessary to delve into it", he said.

Putin cited as an example of Ukraine's reluctance to fulfil its commitments the fact that permanent amendments to the Constitution, in particular, regarding the special status of the southeast Ukrainian region of Donbas, have not been adopted to this day. "When we met in Paris (in November 2015), both the German chancellor and the French president agreed that a different nature should be given to this law, and it should be included there on a permanent basis", the Russian president said. "How can you demand from Moscow the things that should be done in Kiev by our colleagues by their decision?" Putin said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Sochi, 11Jan16]

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