Slaughter like in Srebrenica could happen in Ukraine - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says "the Minsk format" for settling the Ukraine crisis is ineffective.

The reason, according to Putin, is that the authorities in Kiev "have no desire to implement the Minsk agreements."

At one point he compared the region of Donbass with Srebrenica.

"As for the tragedy that is playing out there, one should always look at the primary source, and that was the coup (in Ukraine)," Putin said, according to Sputnik's Serbian language website.

The Russian army is not in the territory of Donbass, Putin continued, addressing his big annual press conference that gathered 1,640 journalists.

"Certain militia units have indeed been formed there that are ready to repel any military action against Donbass. We consider this to be in the interests of people living in that territory, otherwise Kiev's national battalions would carry out slaughter in Donbass, like in Srebrenica," Putin said.

"As for a peacekeeping mission, Poroshenko spoke of the necessity to arm members of the OSCE and I immediately agreed, but the OSCE rejected it because it doesn't want to put weapons in the hands of its associates because they would will immediately become targets," he added.

Russia is not against the Unites States joining the Normandy Format, Putin said.

The US is "a full-fledged participant in the settlement process, regardless of whether it is in the Normandy Format or not - it is still very deeply involved and aware of all the events taking place there," the Russian president said, according to Sputnik in English.

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