Putin wants to save lives on post-Soviet space

Answering a question about the prospects for a settlement of the crisis in Donbass and about relations between Russia and Ukraine, Putin said that this largely depends on the Ukrainian authorities.

"All leaders, including Vladimir Zelenskyy, came to power under slogans of settlement and restoration. Yet, they fail to succeed. They start looking at radical nationalist forces, but nothing happens, they do not have enough political will to succeed. Nothing has been done in terms of a political settlement. Statements are voiced, but they are not going to fulfil the Minsk agreements - they raise questions about the need to revise them instead. Yet, these agreements have been approved by the UN, so they cannot be revised. A settlement is inevitable, the question is when. We support and will continue to support the Donbass, and we will even increase our support," Putin.

Answering a question from St. Petersburg about the time when Russia can open its borders, the President of Russia said that this would happen as soon as doctors allow so.

When asked about the earlier promised "breakthrough" in the Russian economy, Putin referred to difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to him, the pandemic has affected the implementation of Russia's strategic goals. But these goals have not been postponed.

"We had to spend 830 billion to support citizens and affected industries. Yet, nobody has canceled the strategic goals," Putin said.

Answering a question about the crises in the CIS countries (there was a change of power in Kyrgyzstan, Moldova demands Russian peacekeepers should be withdrawn from Transnistria, ongoing protests in Belarus), and whether Russia could lose some of its allies, Putin spoke about each of those states separately.

  1. "Kyrgyzstan: this is not the first time when it happens there. They always try to improve life according to the patterns of Western countries. Kyrgyzstan is neither France nor the Federal Republic of Germany, where it it took centuries to build political platforms. This is not the case in post-Soviet countries. The events in Kyrgyzstan are not happening as a result of today - they are happening because the country is tyring to find its way," said Vladimir Putin.
  2. "Moldova: I wish success to President-elect Maia Sandu, but she did not say anything new. Representatives of various Western countries continuously talk about the need for the Russian peacemaking contingent  to leave. We can pull the contingent out when the time is right for it, when there is dialogue built between Transnistria and the rest of Moldova," the president said.
  3. "Belarus: we need to give the Belarusian people an opportunity to figure it out for themselves. President Lukashenko spoke out. I agree with him that this should be done in a calm rhythmic environment. He initiated amendments to the Constitution. We will see how it is going to happen. It is highly important to avoid external interference. Unfortunately, it has a place to be - this is political, informational, financial support for the opposition from abroad. No matter how hard and difficult it might be, changes must form within the society. Everything that is thrown from the outside works not as a sedative, but like an explosive device, like a grenade, "Putin stressed.

Putin about Karabakh: It is part of Azerbaijan from the standpoint of international law

Vladimir Putin was asked several questions at once on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh: why the conflict sparked at this particular time, whether there were prerequisites or a match was thrown from outside, whether Russia has its rests there, like Turkey, and whether Russia can enlarge its       peacekeeping contingent.

Putin does not believe that the situation in Karabakh went out of control due to external interference. The conflict had been smoldered for many years there.

According to him, Turkey defended Azerbaijan's "just cause", namely the return of the occupied territories. From the point of view of international law, this is indeed the territory of Azerbaijan, like Nagorno-Karabakh itself, Putin said.

"Russia always believes that one we must come to an agreement without bloodshed," Putin said. The status of Nagorno-Karabakh must remain unchanged, the status quo must be fixed, but there must be opportunities for communication between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, and a corridor was created for this purpose.

"But the situation is more complicated than such postulates," Putin admitted. "Each side to the conflict has its own truth. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh took up arms once to protect their lives and dignity."

The main result of the agreements on Karabakh is to save people's lives, the rest is secondary, the head of state said. The parties agreed on a ceasefire and remained in the positions where they were caught by the signing of the agreement. "This is where they should stay," Putin said. As for the increase in the number of Russian peacekeepers, it is possible to send more Russian military men there, albeit solely on the basis of prior agreement with all the parties to the conflict, Putin said.