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Putin Says Sanctions On Russia Nothing To Do With Ukraine
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Putin Says Sanctions On Russia Nothing To Do With Ukraine

Live Blog: Putin Holding Televised Q&A

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting his annual question-and-answer show with the nation.

Final Summary

-- In his annual question-and-answer session with the public, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Western sanctions are aimed at restraining Russia, asserting that Moscow's role in the crisis and conflict in Ukraine are only a pretext for the punitive measures imposed by the European Union, United States, and other nations.​

-- He said that "the Russian army is not in Ukraine," repeating Moscow's denial that it has sent troops to aid pro-Russian rebels.

-- Putin highlighted the recent rise of Russia's ruble currency, which has gained more than 20 percent in 2015 after a steep decline last year. He also touted high oil production figures and a good harvest. He said Russians are living longer and death rates decreasing.

-- Putin linked his decision to lift a ban on supplying Iran with surface-to-air S-300 missiles with what he said was Tehran's demonstrated desire to resolve a yearslong dispute over its nuclear program, which Western nations fear is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

-- Putin took on comparisons that suggest parallels between the reigns of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, saying that "Nazism and Stalinism cannot be put on the same desk...because the Nazis directly, openly, and publicly announced as one of their goals the annihilation of concrete ethnic groups -- Jews, Gypsies, Slavs."

-- He described the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov as "tragic and shameful" and praised investigators for identifying and arresting five suspects days after Nemstov was gunned down steps from the Kremlin on February 27.

-- Putin said his country will never be a "vassal" of the United States. He said there are "superpowers" that "consider themselves the only center of power in the world."

Final Question: Why do you have these Q and As? What do you want to know?

Putin: This is the most important opinion poll.

Question from a concerned woman from Odesa, Ukraine

Putin: We all know what happened in Odesa and at a certain point the people of Ukraine will offer a proper assessment of this barbaric act. (Putin is referring to the fire at Odesa's trade union building last May that killed more than 40 people -- largely supporters of pro-Russian separatists.)

Q: Would you like to clone yourself?

Putin: No

Serious domestic issues dominating.

Putin says no plans to raise retirement age.

A woman asks about lack of medicine for palliative care. Says that a suffering child was denied morphine during her last days. This is a serious issue that our own Claire Bigg has covered in depth.

Question: My son is very sick and needs drugs, but the drug stores say they're not available. Please do something about that.

Putin: I would like to get all of the contacts for that woman. You have the right to get those medicines. We gave the Health Ministry extra money and they said they don't need it because they have enough. If people don't get this access then it's a crime.

Anchor: Many say that drugists ask for money even though they're not supposed to.

Putin: That's why we have these Q and As. Give me all of the information.

Another question about business

This Q and A is almost all about economics and small business. Very different from past events.

Kind of adorable kid asks Putin how many hours he sleeps, because he wants to be president too.

Putin: It's okay that you sleep a lot. That just means you'll be a healthy president.

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