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You're reading: Putin Q&A live blog: Putin threatens to shut off gas to Ukraine, calls eastern Ukraine “Novorussiya,” says presidential elections cannot be considered legitimate
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Putin threatens to stop gas flows to Ukraine, rebukes NATO expansion, calls eastern Ukraine “Novorussiya,” says Russia has “to defend those people”

2:42 p.m. — Putin ignored a question about a new law adopted in the Russian parliament that increases the punishment for separatist activity. The law comes into force on May 9, Victory Day, which is the annual celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, and Russia’s most important patriotic holiday. 

Asked about EU and U.S.-Russia relations, Putin said that although Russia should pursue closer ties with the west, it should not have to abandon its own interests to do so.

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