"I think that such an apocalyptic scenario is unlikely and I hope this will never happen," he said in reply to a question about whether one day the Russians would wake up to the news that war has broken out.

Putin also criticised comments by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Crimea, which was part of Ukraine before it acceded to Russia last year.

"I do not give advice, but authorities in such a large European country like Ukraine should address, first, how to normalise life in the country," the Russian president said.

As for Crimea, he reiterated that its inhabitants had already chosen which state to belong to and that their choice should be respected. Putin also said that the accusations against Moscow of alleged military intervention in eastern Ukraine were attempts to justify the defeat of Ukrainian troops there by blaming Russia.

But what is more serious, he added, were the attempts to fan the flames of an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"If the Minsk agreement is implemented, I'm sure the situation in eastern Ukraine will gradually normalise," Putin said, referring to a truce signed in the Belarus capital.

He explained that he believed that Europe was no less interested than Russia in compliance with the Minsk agreements, since nobody needed a conflict on the periphery of Europe.

Latest News from World News Desk