Vladimir Putin seemed initially hesitant when pounced upon by John Sweeney but such was the BBC journalist's persistence that the Russian leader called over his translator and explained he would answer his questions.
The Russian president was visiting the Mammoth museum at the Northeastern Federal University in Yakutsk when Sweeney appeared and asked him if he was regretful about the rise of killings in Ukraine.
The essence of the tragedy going on there, is the current government in Kiev does not want to negotiate with the east of the country.
- Vladimir Putin
While seemingly refusing to let Sweeney speak, Putin blamed the crisis on the lack of dialogue coming from the authorities in Kiev while explaining that the recent advances of pro-Russian rebels was merely a measure to prevent them firing on residential areas.
More: Meanwhile, in Ukraine