Reply to a journalist’s question during a visit to North-Eastern Federal University 2014-09-01 10:00:00 QUESTION on the situation in Ukraine. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I will answer your question. The root of the tragedy currently unfolding, as I see it, is that the current government in Kiev does not want to engage in a substantive political dialogue with the country’s eastern regions. And I mean here a real political dialogue on the matters of substance. What objectives are the southeast regions’ militia pursuing in their current military operations and why have they stepped up their activity? They are responding to the fact that the Ukrainian regular armed forces have surrounded towns and are firing directly at residential districts. What the militia are trying to do is drive back these armed forces and their artillery so as to prevent them from shooting at residential areas. Unfortunately however, many countries, including in Europe, prefer to ignore this fact. I think it is a very important process that is starting now – the process of direct negotiations. We worked on this long and hard and reached an agreement on the matter with President Poroshenko in Minsk. Now these contacts will resume.