Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Kiev was cutting off the Donbass area of eastern Ukraine by excluding its citizens from the national financial system.
In answer to questions at a televised call-in, Putin also denied reports that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had asked Russia to take Donbass, a coal-mining region where pro-Russian separatists rose up last year.
"There are people who fight for their rights by force … but there are also people have nothing to do with it, who have worked for their pensions … So why are you not paying them?" he asked.
"Thus we can say that today's authorities in Ukraine are cutting off Donbass with their own hands."