Putin calls war with Ukraine 'unlikely'

Feb 24, 2015, 1:55 AM EST
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow on February 23, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said war with neighbouring Ukraine is "unlikely", in an interview for Russian television. Putin also stressed his support for the recent Minsk ceasefire deal as the best way to stabilise eastern Ukraine, reports the BBC.

Ukraine says Russian troops have been fighting in Ukraine. Mr Putin repeated denials that this was the case. Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are meeting in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the ceasefire.

On Monday, Ukraine's military said rebel shelling had prevented them withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line. In his interview - his first extended comments since the ceasefire deal was agreed on 12 February - Putin was asked if there was a real threat of war, given the situation in eastern Ukraine.

"I think that such an apocalyptic scenario is unlikely and I hope this will never happen," he said. Putin said that if the Minsk agreement was implemented, eastern Ukraine would "gradually stabilise."

"Europe is just as interested in that as Russia. No-one wants conflict on the edge of Europe, especially armed conflict," he said.