Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that Ukraine might be preparing a military operation in the Donbas.
"The Ukrainian authorities tried twice to resolve the situation in the Donbas by force. Twice! Although I personally asked Poroshenko: just not a military operation. "Yes, yes," and he began. Result? Encirclement, losses and the Minsk agreements. Are they good or not? I believe that they [the Minsk Agreements] are the only possible ones," Putin said at a press conference.
"[Now] They are telling us war, war, war. It seems that, perhaps, a third military operation is being prepared and we are warned in advance: do not interfere but if you do - there will be such and such sanctions," Putin added.
Putin suggested that Ukraine could become a constant source of instability for Russia.
"The second scenario is the creation of an anti-Russia in this territory with a constant pumping of modern weapons, with brainwashing of the population. Can you imagine how Russia will have to live with it? Constantly looking around what is there, what new weapon systems have been deployed. And then, with the support of these systems, they will push radical extremists to resolve the issue in the Donbas and in Crimea using military means. How should Russia live? Constantly looking around, what will happen and when will they strike? This is a serious issue," Putin said.
"Therefore, without any tricks, we directly asked the question: there should be no advancement of NATO to the east. The ball is in their court. In general, so far, we see a positive response. American partners say that they are ready to start discussions at the very beginning of the year in Geneva," Putin stressed.
Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine does not plan an offensive military operation in the Donbas.