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Live Blog: Putin's Annual Press Conference

Vladimir Putin held his annual news conference, which lasted three hours and 44 minutes. Here's the play-by-play of everything he said -- and the many reactions -- at the yearly spectacle.


Key Highlights

-- The Russian president cast Russia’s sluggish economy in a positive light, while calling for improvements.

-- Putin criticized the United States for abandoning Cold War-era nuclear arms treaties, saying that the risk of a devastating war should not be underestimated.

-- Putin repeated his claim that Kyiv was to blame for an incident in which Russian forces fired on Ukrainian naval vessels off Russian-held Crimea on November 25.

-- Putin reiterated Russian denials of a series of accusations of what Western officials have called "malign activities" around the globe.

-- The president lashed out over the creation of an independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, where a church linked with Russia has long dominated.

-- Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny is holding his own live-stream of the Putin press conference.

-- Putin’s year-end question-and-answer event is closely managed. Only specially selected publications are given the chance to ask a question, which usually range from a bit of geopolitical issues to a lot of local concerns.

Good morning. We're kicking off our live blog from Moscow and Prague.

16x9 Image Matthew Luxmoore

A journalist from the Insider, the outlet which helped Bellingcat in their investigations into the Skripal poisoning, says he's been denied entry despite having accreditation.

16x9 Image Matthew Luxmoore

Aleksei Navalny's team will hold its own live-stream of the Putin presser.

16x9 Image Tony Wesolowsky

16x9 Image Carl Schreck

16x9 Image Carl Schreck

16x9 Image Carl Schreck

Here is the press card showing that Roman Dobrokhotov, editor of The Insider (which helped unmask the alleged Novichok poisoners as Russian military intelligence officers), was accredited to Putin's presser. Security turned him away at the door, he says.

16x9 Image Tony Wesolowsky

Some of the "color" from today's show.

16x9 Image Robert Coalson

Putin has entered the hall about eight minutes late and is making a few introductory remarks on the results of the last year.

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