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Russia interested in settlement in eastern Ukraine — Putin

January 11, 20:50 UTC+3

Putin expects that Russian-Ukrainian relations will improve after the settlement in the southeast of Ukraine

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© Alexei Nikolsky/Russian presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, January 11./TASS/. Russia is not interested in seeing the situation in Donbass degenerating into a frozen conflict, President Putin said on Thursday. He expects that Russian-Ukrainian relations will improve after the settlement in the southeast of Ukraine.

"As for prospects for the settlement in Donbass, this is acquiring the nature of a frozen conflict, nobody is interested in this, including Russia. We would like to see the situation settled," Putin stressed at a meeting with the leadership of the Russian printed media and news agencies.

"However settled so that not to arouse concerns of anyone living there," he specified. "I don’t want to forejudge now, I have repeatedly said and want to say once again - Russia would be fairly satisfied with seeing the Minsk agreements fully put into practice, fully - not selectively the way somebody likes this, but to a full extend so that it would also be fine with those who live in Donbass, with all that is spelled out there [in the Minsk agreements] - with the law on a special status for Donbass," he added.

He said the Russian-Ukrainian relations see "an absolutely abnormal situation in which the two close, fraternal countries, the parts of practically the same people, are facing the developments we are witnessing now instead of a constructive development of ties".

"I expect that after the settlement of problems in Donbass - and this will happen sooner or later, there is no doubt - interstate relations between Russia and Ukraine will start normalizing on the whole," the president said.

"Despite all difficulties and problems, trade between Russia and Ukraine grew last year, and it grew significantly," he stressed. "This is a good sign showing that we have such fundamental resources for putting relations back on track on the whole," he added.

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