Ukrainian reporter Roman Tsymbaliuk asked Russian President Putin when the Kremlin leaves Ukraine alone. At a press conference in Moscow on December 17, he also said: “You’re telling there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, so let me pass best regards from Yerofeev and Alexandrov, the two Special Operations servicemen from Tolyatti, Russia”.
Tsymbaliuk asked Putin whether the soldiers will be exchanged for Ukrainain citizens illegally detained in Russia, namely Nadia Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Olexandr Kolchenko and others.
The reporter wondered if Russia would let go of Ukraine since January 2016, due to the validity period of Minsk agreements running out.
The Russian leader denied presence of Russian troops in Ukraine, adding that people who sided with militants in Donbas “are merely doing some business with them”. “We never said there were no people doing military-related business, but that doesn’t mean there are regular Russian troops. Feel the difference”, Putinsaid.
He also said his country is ready to affect the so-called DPR and LPR so that Minsk agreements are complied with. “We are not interested in escalation of the conflict, on the contrary, we want it solved as soon as possible – but not by means of physical extermination of people in southeastern Ukraine”, Putin said.
Regarding the possible exchange of detained Russian citizens for Ukrainian political prisoners and POWs, Putin said that the Kremlin agrees with the view of President Poroshenko – exchanging “all for all”. However, the Russian leader charged Kyiv with selective approach in this issue, which, according to the Russian side, slows down the process of exchange.