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Ukraine conducting 'punitive operation' in east: Putin

AFP , Thursday 18 Dec 2014
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President Vladimir Putin on Thursday branded Ukraine's attempt to crush a Moscow-backed separatist uprising in the east of the country a "punitive operation."

"It is indeed a punitive operation. But it is being conducted by the current Kiev authorities," Putin told his annual end-of-the-year news conference, side-stepping a question from a Ukrainian journalist.

The reporter from Ukraine's UNIAN news agency had accused Putin of conducting a punitive operation in the east of Ukraine and asked how many regular troops the Russian president had sent in to prop up the separatist insurgency there.

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