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Kremlin: Donbas militia not Russia's puppets

March 23, 2015, 13:18 UTC+3 OSLO

President Putin has some influence on the self-defense forces because they respect him, but he cannot order them to lay down arms, Dmitry Peskov told Norwegian daily Dagbladet in an interview

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© Nikolai Muravyev/TASS

OSLO, March 23. /TASS/. Moscow’s influence on self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) is limited, contrary to popular opinion in the West, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Norwegian daily Dagbladet in an interview published on Monday.

"Contrary to what NATO and European countries say, self-defense forces in Donbas are not our puppets," Peskov said. "President Putin has some influence on them because they respect him, but he cannot order them to lay down arms," the press secretary stressed.

Though there are certain difficulties in the relations between Russian and Western countries, it does not mean that "Europe lost Russia, and Russia lost Europe," Peskov said.

The press secretary noted that Western public opinion "demonizes Putin and blames him for everything."

"This situation affects me personally," Peskov stressed. "Unfortunately, whatever we do, there are people who will not listen to us," he said.

Peskov also touched upon the issue of the Ukrainian crisis. He said that coup in Ukraine that followed the events in Kiev in January-February 2014, received insufficient and one-sided coverage in most Western media.

"A coup orchestrated from abroad happened in the center of Europe," Peskov said. "It is dangerous for all of us… [Ukraine’s former President Viktor] Yanukovych was maybe bad, maybe even very bad. However, I can say with one-hundred-percent certainty that he was an elected president. Someone decided to remove him from power, and it is absolutely unacceptable," he added.

Peskov also commented on the "mysterious disappearance" of Vladimir Putin widely discussed in the media last week.

"This story gave many reasons for jokes," the press secretary said. "Putin was working in his residence in the Moscow Region. Sometimes people think that he sits at home and does nothing if he is not shown on TV. I came to him and said: ‘Mr President, I found out that you found yourself in a very difficult situation. A group of generals kidnapped you and took you to Switzerland, where several of your children were born all at once. Let me congratulate you, Mr. President’," Peskov said.

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