April 17 - Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Ukraine is heading for an abyss and the best way out is diplomacy, although he does not rule out use of force. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes to the airwaves Thursday in his annual televised phone saying that Ukraine faces an abyss and the only way out is through talk. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "I hope that it will be possible to realise which hole and which abyss the current authorities are moving towards and dragging the whole country with them. And in this regard, I think the start of today's talks in Geneva is very important. I think it is very important today to think about how to get out of this situation, to offer people a real, not ostentatious, but real dialogue." As Russia meets with Ukraine the U.S. and EU in Switzerland, Putin underscores the need for diplomacy. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Only through the dialogue, through democratic procedures, and not through using armed forces, tanks and aviation, one can restore order in the country." Putin accused Ukraine's leaders on Thursday of committing a "grave crime" by using the army to try to quell unrest in the east of the country -- and did not rule out sending in Russian troops. Putin said, however, he hoped he would not need to take such a step.