At Annual Year-End Press Conference, Vladimir Putin Says There Will Be Peace In Ukraine When…


At Annual Year-End Press Conference, Vladimir Putin Says There Will Be Peace In Ukraine When...

The Russian President held an event called ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding his annual televised question and answer session with people of the country, which has been combined with his year-end press conference. Apart from Russian citizens, several journalists too are present for the marathon event. At the event, Mr Putin said there would be no peace in Ukraine until his goals are achieved and said those objectives remain unchanged. This is the first time since launching the war in Ukraine that the Russian President is directly interacting with people. He had cancelled the press conference last year.

Called ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’, the event is a carefully orchestrated and curated affair.

“There will be peace when we achieve our goals. Let’s return to these goals – they have not changed. I’ll remind you of what we talked about then – the denazification of Ukraine, its demilitarisation, its neutral status,” the Russian President said.

“As for demilitarisation, if they don’t want to come to an agreement, then we are forced to take other measures, including military ones. Or we will agree on certain terms. By the way we agreed on these in talks in Istanbul. But then these agreements were scrapped. But we agreed on this. There are other possibilities – either reach an agreement or resolve it by force. This is what we will strive for,” he added.

ABC News said Mr Putin offered rare details on Moscow’s operation, saying there are some 617,000 Russian soldiers currently in Ukraine, including around 244,000 troops who were called up to fight alongside professional Russian military forces.

The government had opened lines for ordinary Russians to submit questions for the President along with those asked by journalists.

More than one and a half million questions have been submitted, Russian state media reported.

On Russia’s economy, Mr Putin said, “The most important indicator is economic growth. GDP growth by the end of the year is expected at 3.5 per cent – this is a good indicator, it means we have recovered from last year’s fall… and we have made a relatively seriously step forward.”

“Unfortunately, inflation has increased. By the end of the year it is expected at 7.5 per cent, maybe a little more at 8 per cent, but the central bank and government are taking necessary measures,” the Russian President added.

The event is being held in Gostiny Dvor, a historic market space now used as an exhibition and conference hall, close to Red Square, The Washington Post said.

Stringent security measures have been put in place and attendees asked to pass through four checkpoints. They were also given a list of 26 banned items, including Nazi symbols, flags, aerosols, radioactive devices, toxic chemicals, household chemicals, narcotics, animals, drones, bicycles, food, and water bottles, as well as weapons, explosives and pyrotechnics.


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