After taking a dive in an underwater submersible in annexed Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin says the blame for conflict escalation in Ukraine's east ''lies not with Donbass'' but with ''the rival side.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday blamed the Ukrainian government for the latest upsurge in fighting between Kiev forces and Russia-backed rebels in east Ukraine. After taking a dive in an underwater submersible in Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula Moscow annexed from Kiev last year, Putin told reporters: "Regrettably, we are now seeing this conflict escalation and the blame lies not with the Donbass militia but with the rival side," he said, referring to the rebel-held Ukrainian region. "I hope there won't be full-scale direct clashes."