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Putin Cites 'No Regrets' Amid Latest Thinking On Ukraine, World Matters


Russian President Vladimir Putin told an Italian newspaper that he has "nothing to regret" in life while he fully backs the Minsk peace agreements in Ukraine, though progress is being stalled by Kiev.

"Russia is interested in and will strive to ensure the full and unconditional implementation of the Minsk Agreements," he said in an interview with Corriere della Sera June 6, according to a transcript released by the Kremlin.

Putin called the February deal "right, just and feasible" a few days after the most serious outbreak of fighting in eastern Ukraine since February's ceasefire, which has cast doubt on the durability of the peace deal.

Putin said that large-scale hostilities in eastern Ukraine had on the whole ceased and a pull-back of heavy weapons implemented, despite occasional shooting and casualties.

He said it is time to start carrying out clauses requiring constitutional reform to ensure autonomy for the rebel regions in eastern Ukraine, a law on municipal elections there, and a law on amnesty in co-ordination with the regions' authorities.

"The problem is that the current Kiev authorities don't even want to sit down to talks with them. And there is nothing we can do about it," he said. "Only our European and American partners can influence this situation."

Putin also said that Kiev's cutting off of economic ties with the rebel territories was causing a humanitarian disaster, and said the European Union should fulfill its obligations to restore the banking system in the region.

He added: "Since we are talking about what can or must be done, and by whom, I believe that the European Union could surely provide greater financial assistance to Ukraine."

On other matters in the interview, Putin said leaders in Europe and the United States are "insane" if they think he has plans to intervene in other countries outside Ukraine.

"As for some countries' concerns about Russia's possible aggressive actions, I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO," he said, adding, "I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people's fears with regard to Russia."

"Let me tell you something - there is no need to fear Russia," he said. "The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today."

On personal matters, Putin said he is happy and does not model himself after any former leaders of Russia.

"By the grace of God, I have nothing to regret in my life," he said. "I am guided by the interests of the Russian people in my work, taking into account everything that has been previously accumulated and the conditions we are living in today."

Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and TASS
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