DIRECT LINE PROGRAMME HOST KIRILL KLEYMENOV: Good afternoon,

You are watching Direct Line with President Vladimir Putin. Here in the studio today are Maria Sittel and Kirill Kleymenov.

DIRECT LINE PROGRAMME HOST MARIA SITTEL:

Good afternoon,

I could say that we are having today yet another conversation with Vladimir Putin, however the situation is different since the country we are talking to now has changed. After waiting for 23 years, since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Crimea and Sevastopol have joined Russia. For this reason, every question today will be directly or indirectly related to Crimea.

We will discuss a number of issues today, including healthcare, army, taxes, agriculture and, naturally, Ukraine. There is no doubt that we’ll discuss developments in Ukraine’s southeast and the genocide that was unleashed in this region. Ukraine is sliding into civil war.

KIRILL KLEYMENOV: Our colleagues Olga Ushakova, Valeriya Korableva, Tatyana Stolyarova and Dmitry Shchugorev will assist us during today’s broadcast, while Tatyana Remizova and Anna Pavlova are working in the call and SMS processing centre.

I would like to remind you that you can watch us live on Channel One, as well as on Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels, and on Russia’s Public Television channel, where interpretation into sign language will be available for people with impaired hearing. Radio listeners can join our conversation on Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii stations.

We are live with President Vladimir Putin.
18 April 2014
Washington's assessments of the four-party meeting on the deescalation of tensions in Ukraine are highly disappointing, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary Friday.

"The assessments of the April 17 meeting of Russian, US, Ukrainian and EU representatives that are coming from Washington are highly disappointing as the American side is again trying to whitewash the course of action of the incumbent Kiev authorities who are set to suppress by force the protest activity of the population of southeastern regions where people are expressing legal indignation over encroachments on their rights," the commentary says.

"On the face of it, blame for the Ukrainian crisis and its current deterioration is groundlessly apportioned to Russia in spite of the businesslike tonality and absence of propagandistic cliches at the talks in Geneva," the ministry said.
17 April 2014
The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.

All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.
17 April 2014
Lavrov said the sides agreed that the crisis should be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves, with least interference by foreign mediators.

"The communique adopted today has a provision calling on the immediate start of a broad national dialogue in the context of a constitutional reform so that all regions could voice their wishes," Lavrov said after talks in Geneva.

"It's up to Kiev authorities now to ensure all-inclusive, transparent and accountable constitutional process," he said.

Lavrov said constitutional reforms will be held in Ukraine under any scenario and the rights and demands of all regions will be respected.

"The top priorities are decentralization, significant shift of authority on the regions, including their right to elect own legislative and executive bodies," the minister said.
17 April 2014
By trying to make Russia the culprit in the current Ukrainian crisis, NATO has outperformed its own propaganda efforts from the aggressive time against Yugoslavia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Thursday's statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website is a reply to a number of recently circulated papers, including a NATO factsheet called “Russia’s accusations - setting the record straight”. Russian diplomats claimed that the factsheet was an attempt to lay the blame for the crisis in Europe on Russia.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that during the post-Soviet period Russia was honestly developing friendly relations with NATO, and worked on dismantling various Cold War relics, regardless of disagreements over NATO enlargement, missile defense and the western bloc’s failure to observe international law.
Permanent Representative
Alexander V. GRUSHKO
Contacts
Address
Belgium, Brussels, 1180-Uccle,
Avenue de Fre, 66

Tel.
32(0)2 372-0359

Fax
32(0)2 375-8547

Email
amrus.nato@skynet.be

In Focus