Thousands of Russians chanted Alexei Navalny's name and said they would not forgive the authorities for his death as the opposition leader was laid to rest in Moscow on Friday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow, Russia December 14, 2023. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters
Here are some highlights from Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual press conference and phone-in held in Moscow on Thursday:
ON THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE
"There will be peace when we achieve our goals. Let's return to these goals: they have not changed. I'll remind you of what we talked about then: the denazification of Ukraine, its demilitarization, its neutral status."
"As for demilitarization, if they don't want to come to an agreement, then we are forced to take other measures, including military ones. Or we will agree on certain terms. By the way we agreed on these in talks in Istanbul. But then these agreements were scrapped. But we agreed on this. There are other possibilities - either reach an agreement or resolve it by force. This is what we will strive for."
ON POSSIBILITY OF SECOND MILITARY DRAFT
"We had a partial mobilization, we called up 300,000 people... The guys are fighting well, really well. Fourteen heroes of Russia. I think 244,000 are in the special military operation zone... After that, we started a campaign to attract people on a voluntary basis to sign contracts with the armed forces. As of yesterday evening, I was informed we now had come up with 486,000."
"The flow of men ready to defend our homeland with arms in hand is not decreasing. Together with volunteers, there should be around half a million people. There is no need for mobilisation as of today."
ON THE ECONOMY
"The most important indicator is economic growth. GDP growth by the end of the year is expected at 3.5% - this is a good indicator, it means we have recovered from last year's fall... and we have made a relatively seriously step forward."
"Unfortunately, inflation has increased. By the end of the year it is expected at 7.5%, maybe a little more at 8%, but the central bank and government are taking necessary measures."
Reporting by Moscow bureau
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