"The people performing their duty in the east of Ukraine voluntarily, answering the call of their hearts, are not mercenaries as they do not get paid for it," Putin said, noting once again that they are definitely the 'insurgents', Censor.NET informs.
In addition, Putin once again accused the Ukrainian authorities of carrying out the 'punitive operation'. "The events taking place in the eastern Ukraine are the punitive operation conducted by the Kyiv authorities," he said.
According to the Russia's president, the 'insurgents' did not deploy their equipment near Kyiv, but it was Kyiv that launched military operations in the Donbas.
"Kyiv began to use the army against the population when it voiced opposition after the armed insurrection," Putin said. He also accused Kyiv authorities of the Donbas economic blockade.
Putin also said that the crisis in Ukraine should be resolved by political means. In addition, the Russian president said that Poroshenko wants to resolve the situation in the country. But, according to Putin, many other officials are making bellicose statements.