"I think that this apocalyptic scenario is hardly possible, and I hope that this will never happen," Putin said.

At the same time, according to the Russian leader, the Ukrainian authorities should establish relations with the inhabitants of the south-east of the country.

"The government of such a large European country as Ukraine, first of all, must return the country to normal life, to adjust the economy, the social sphere, to establish relations with the south-east of the country in a civilized manner, to support the legitimate rights and interests of people who live in the Donbas," Putin said.

Commenting on the statement of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about his intention to return the annexed territory of the Crimea, Putin said that such talk was of a revanchist nature.

Despite all accusations from Kyiv and the Western countries, Moscow continues to deny any involvement in the events in the south-eastern Ukraine.

Nevertheless, despite Kremlin denials, there is a large and growing body of circumstantial evidence that Russia not only supplies the militants in the east of Ukraine, but also had a hand in starting the conflict.