Putin believes in eastern Ukraine peace efforts

(AGI) Berlin, Nov 17 - In a long interview with German ARDtelevision, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he stillbelieves in the success of peace efforts in eastern Ukraine,but expressed concern over the threat of ethnic cleansing.Putin defended Russia's annexation of Crimea, but also appealedto German viewers by saying relations between the two nationshad never been better and should be protected. "Can one find away out of this situation? Yes, I'm convinced there is a way,"Putin said after criticising the Ukraine government for usingforce, rather than dialogue, against its opponents. "But I

(AGI) Berlin, Nov 17 - In a long interview with German ARDtelevision, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he stillbelieves in the success of peace efforts in eastern Ukraine,but expressed concern over the threat of ethnic cleansing.Putin defended Russia's annexation of Crimea, but also appealedto German viewers by saying relations between the two nationshad never been better and should be protected. "Can one find away out of this situation? Yes, I'm convinced there is a way,"Putin said after criticising the Ukraine government for usingforce, rather than dialogue, against its opponents. "But I haveto add this bluntly: We're very concerned that the desire couldarise to use ethnic cleansing. We're afraid about a drifttowards neo-Nazism. There are people with swastikas on theirsleeves running around and armed forces with SS symbols on thehelmets. That's why we fear there's a drift in that direction.It would be a disaster for the people in Ukraine." The ARDnetwork said that the interview with Putin, who was once a KGBspy in Communist East Germany and speaks German fluently, wasconducted in Vladivostok on Thursday. . .