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Putin Says No Alternative To Minsk Accords In Ukraine Crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin (second from right) and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (center) lay flowers at a monument to soldiers of the Kingdom of Sardinia, killed during the Crimean War, near Mount Gasfort in Crimea, on September 11.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says there is no path to regulating the crisis in eastern Ukraine other than the existing Minsk agreements.

Putin made his remarks on September 12 while visiting the archaeological complex at Khersones, in the Ukrainian region of Crimea that was annexed by Russia in March 2014, with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The Russian leader said that it could be possible to consider extending the implementation of the Minsk agreements beyond the end of the year, but that it would be better to find ways to meet existing deadlines.

In February, Ukraine and the self-proclaimed separatist enclaves in the east agreed to a cease-fire and steps to end the conflict, including some form of autonomy for the separatist areas and full control for Kyiv over Ukraine's borders.

Putin said Russia cannot decide the fate of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and that the most important thing to do now is to establish direct contacts between Kyiv and the separatist leaders.

On September 11, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in Kyiv that he has ruled out extending the deadlines for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Based on reporting by TASS and