Photo by Lazopoulos George (CC BY 2.0)

Russian President Vladimir Putin quit the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, early, citing needs to get back to Moscow after enduring hours of Western leaders urging him to drop his support for secessionists in eastern Ukraine.

The Guardian reported:

With the European Union poised this week to extend the list of people subject to asset freezes, the Russian president individually met five European leaders including the British prime minister, David Cameron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, where he refused to give ground.

Putin instead accused the Kiev government of a mistaken economic blockade against the cities in eastern Ukraine that have declared independence in votes organised in the past month. He said that action was short-sighted pointing out that Russia continued to pay the salaries and pensions of Chechenya throughout its battle for independence.

Putin justified his early departure as follows: “It will take nine hours to fly to Vladivostok and another eight hours to get to Moscow. I need four hours sleep before I get back to work on Monday. We have completed our business.”

In an interview with German TV, the president criticized the sanctions placed on Russia by the West. “Do they want to bankrupt our banks? In that case they will bankrupt Ukraine. Have they thought about what they are doing at all or not? Or has politics blinded them? As we know eyes constitute a peripheral part of the brain. Was something switched off in their brains?”

The Guardian continued:

NATO claims 300 Russian troops remain in Ukraine training the separatist forces ahead of likely fresh offensives. Several of the contested areas are crucial for the republic’s long-term survival, including the port city of Mariupol and a power station north of Luhansk. The two provinces in Donetsk and Luhansk normally account for 16% of Ukraine’s GDP, supply 95% of its coal and produce a disproportionate share of exports.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly


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