Moscow: Even as a ceasefire agreed between pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine is hanging by a thread, with both sides struggling to abide by the terms, Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that a war will never happen. His comments have been countered by a top EU official Federica Mogherini, who called Putin 'wrong', saying a conflict 'is already going on' in Ukraine, BBC Radio 4 Today.
Speaking in an interview to a Russian news channel, Putin termed the war scenario as 'apocalyptic' and said that no one was interested in waging an “armed conflict”.
“I think that such an apocalyptic scenario is unlikely and I hope this will never happen," he was quoted as saying.
Putin added that the condition in Ukraine will gradually become stable if the “Minsk agreement was implemented”.
"Europe is just as interested in that as Russia. No-one wants conflict on the edge of Europe, especially armed conflict," the BBC quoted him as saying to a Russian channel.
Putin also brushed off the need for another four way meeting involving France, Germany and Ukraine.
Lambasting Putin's remarks, EU’s foreign affairs high representative Federica Mogherini said that Putin was wrong in saying that a war was unlikely in Ukraine.
"Putin is wrong when he says that a conflict is unlikely..the conflict there is already going on," Federica Mogherini was quoted as saying by the BBC Radio 4 Today.
A ceasefire was agreed in Minsk recently after marathon talks among the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.
However, even after the ceasefire shelling continued and pro-Russian rebels took control of the strategic town of Debaltseve, forcing Ukrainian troops to withdraw.
Both the sides had earlier agreed to withdraw weapons, but yesterday Ukraine military said that they would not withdraw heavy weapons until the shelling continued.
Though Putin has been reiterating that Russia has no role in Ukraine crisis, Ukraine and the West have repeatedly wwarned Moscow against fomenting the conflict by arming the pro-Russian rebels.
Despite his remarks that sound kosher, Putin's intentions have always been looked at with suspicion and the most direct attack on him came at a recent UN Security Council meeting where US Ambassador Samantha Power reprimanded the Russian government to stop pretending it was not doing what it actually was.
"Stop arming the separatists. Stop sending hundreds of heavy weapons across the border in addition to your troops. Stop pretending you are not doing what you are doing," Power said in a statement.
"Russia signs agreements then does everything within its power to undermine them. Russia champions the sovereignty of nations and then acts as if a neighbour's borders do not exist," she added.