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Russia/Ukraine crisis: We are ready for ‘diplomatic solutions’ – Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that Moscow was ready to look for “diplomatic solutions” in tensions with the West over Ukraine but stressed that the country’s interests were non-negotiable.
He made this statement shortly after the EU, UK and US announced new sanctions on Russia after Moscow recognised two breakaway regions of Ukraine and sent troops there.

“Our country is always open for direct and honest dialogue, for the search for diplomatic solutions to the most complex problems,” Mr Putin said in a video address to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day, a public holiday in Russia.

“The interests of Russia, the security of our citizens, are non-negotiable for us,” Putin said.

On Monday evening Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised Donetsk and Luhansk, the two breakaway regions of Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian soldiers since 2014.

The recognition prompted an emergency session of the UN Security Council, where the UK’s ambassador Dame Barbara Woodward said Russia has “brought us to the brink”, warning that its actions “will have severe and far-reaching consequences”.

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