MOSCOW, December 23. / TASS /. The Donbass residents need to decide on their future in line with the Minsk agreements, while Moscow perceives itself as a mediator in the process of normalizing life in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual press conference on Thursday.
"The future of Donbass should be determined by the people who live in this [region]. It cannot be otherwise. We see our role as mediators in creating the best conditions for deciding who lives there in the future," the head of state noted.
"Are there any problems? Yes, since, according to the Minsk agreements, Russia is a mediator, while they are trying to make us a party to the conflict. There is no such thing in the Minsk accords, and we did not agree to this," Putin insisted.
The Russian leader wondered how the Ukrainian leadership, during the conflict, could allow shelling of its own citizens in Donbass, and whether Kiev considered them as such. At the same time, Putin mentioned that currently, Ukraine faced "abject poverty, while everyone is being prepared for a harsh winter."
The Russian leader pointed out that there always would be "those spitting on the screen, while watching our event today, or some others." "There are always people who are [annoyed] by watching what is happening not only today [at this conference] but also in Ukraine <…>," Putin said.