REUTERS

"The United States, in fact, is a full-fledged participant in the [Donbas conflict] settlement process, regardless of whether it is part of the Normandy format or not," Putin said at his big annual press conference in Moscow.

"They are very deeply involved and aware of all the developments there," said the Russian president.

Read alsoRussia sanctions not to be lifted until Ukraine’s territorial integrity restored – TillersonAt the same time, Putin said that he did not stand against the idea of including the U.S. in the Normandy format, adding that such a decision, however, does not depend on the Russian Federation.