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Ukraine’s government decides to stage trade blockade of Crimea

“As far as the territorial integrity of Georgia is concerned, this is an issue for Georgian, Abkhazian and South Ossetian people, it is necessary to work with them, we shall accept any decision they make”, Putin said at his annual press conference. The UN last week hailed a “sharp de-escalation of hostilities” in eastern Ukraine since the warring sides signed a new truce on September 1, in a conflict that has claimed more than 9,000 lives since April 2014.

Asked if there was a chance for an out-of-court settlement, Siluanov said: “We’re open to cooperation but technically it’s impossible”.

Yatseniuk also said Ukraine would cancel payments on $507 million of Ukrainian commercial debt held by Russian banks.

According to RIA, Putin also said Russian Federation would continue to improve its nuclear arsenal, but added that it would not wield the “nuclear big stick”.

After repeatedly denying similar claims in the past, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday admitted for the first time to the presence of Russian military specialists in east Ukraine.

“People went there to fight, they shot and took part in fighting – that is what the “military sphere” is”, he said.

Kiev, Washington and Brussels accuse Moscow of involvement in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine and have imposed a series of sanctions against Russian Federation and pro-Russia figures.

“From today we are halting payments on this debt”, he said.

“From the 1st of January the CFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement) will be introduced in full between Ukraine and the European Union”, he said.

Moscow has expressed concern that Ukraine’s agreement with Brussels may flood its market with European goods and months of three-way talks with the EU to smooth the transition have yielded no results.

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