This just happened at Putin's semi-annual call-in marathon press conference. Full transcript below.
Moderator: Andrei Kondrashov
—I just learned that yet another writer had called the line, we have a lot of writers today. Natalya Yuryeva, you may speak now.
—That's true. Thank you, Andrey. Over the past 3 years, we've actually been getting a lot of inquiries to our message reception center about the situation in Ukraine from our country, from Ukraine, and from other neighboring countries. This time, our editors found a rather fascinating question from a writer who's personally familiar with the Donbass situation.
Let's watch the video we received from Zakhar Prilepin.
—Hello, I'm Zakhar Prilepin, I'm the advisor of the DPR leader and a DPR Army officer. We believe that the Ukrainian Army will use the World Cup to enter an aggressive combat phase. How can you comment on this matter?
—I hope that it won't come to such provocations. However, if that does transpire, there will be harsh consequences for Ukraine's sovereignty in general. I'd like to emphasize that I hope nothing of such nature occurs. Either way, it's impossible to scare the people who live in the regions like LPR and DPR.
We see what's happening there, and how people are handling it. We render assistance to both of these breakaway regions, and we'll continue to do it. Nonetheless, everything that's happening around these regions, in general, is rather sad.
By the way, this also proves that the incumbent Ukrainian authorities isn't capable of resolving this issue. How can this issue be resolved if they consider these regions theirs, but still isolating them?
How can they consider these regions theirs, and the people who live there to be their citizens, while constantly harming the civilians by placing them under fire?
The civilians and the OSCE representatives are the ones who register a current increase in gunfire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Why are they doing this when all they need to do is comply with the Minsk Protocol?
It's just absurd from the point of view of the realization of the net result, which is restoring the country's territorial integrity.
The longer it goes on, the further they go, the worse it gets for Ukraine.
You know, I sometimes think that, by entering the new political cycle, including the Rada and the Presidential elections, Ukraine is turning up the heat from this perspective.
Again, I can't stress this enough, the incumbent Ukrainian authorities, especially in this situation, aren't capable of resolving the issue with the LPR and DPR regions.
This is also true due to the fact that they don't need the voters from these regions. It's obvious they will never vote for the incumbent authorities. If the latter continue pursuing their own mercenary, political, and economic interests, if they continue robbing their own people, piling up money in their own offshore accounts, the outcome of this situation will not be a desirable one.
Either way, we'll see how the situation develops. On our part, we'll do everything in our power to ensure it's handled under with the Minsk Protocol.
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