Putin wants quick Ukraine solution, says Russian economy will recover

At his annual end-of-year news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow aimed to restore political unity to Ukraine, but Kiev must respect all regions if it wanted peace.
He insisted that the more than 20 percent plunge in the rouble would stabilize, blaming “outside factors” for the currency’s fall. "Our economy will get out of this crisis. How long? Maybe two years, but after that, growth is inevitable," Putin said. He estimated that Western sanctions accounted for roughly 25-30 percent of the rouble’s decline, but also admitted that the central bank could have acted sooner. He accepted that Russia had failed to diversify its economy and relied too heavily on its oil and gas exports.


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