War will continue so long as Ukraine government stays: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday he saw no end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine "as long as the current authorities remain in power". "The current Ukrainian authorities have no interest in resolving the conflict, especially by peaceful means," Putin said at the end of G20 summit, Argentina. "As long as they remain in power, the war will continue," the Russian leader said.
The conflict pitting Russian separatists against Ukrainian government forces is estimated to have claimed more than 10,000 lives, one-third of them being civilians, since it broke out four years ago. The war has strained relations with Western powers. They blame Putin for starting the conflict in 2014, when his forces annexed Crimea, laying the ground for Russian separatists to seize cities in eastern Ukraine.
Heavy military spending and the loss of vital industries in the separatist regions have weighed heavily on Ukraine's economy. And Kiev has received only around half of a $17.5 billion rescue loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of the slow pace of reforms.