Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West

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Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 13: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on shipbuilding on November 13, 2014 in Vladivostok, Russia. Putin is on a two-day trip on the way to the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin , left, and Vyacheslav Fetisov, lawmaker and former Soviet and NHL ice hockey star, second left, watch an ice hockey game at the Fetisov Arena at the Russian Far Eastern port of Vladivostok on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
The front page of the local newspaper calls on Russia's President Vladimir Putin to apologise as relations between Australia and Australia hit an all time low after the downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine, at the G20 Leader's Summit in Brisbane on November 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO/William West (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, pauses during a global business leaders summit at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, May 23, 2014. SPIEF is an annual international conference dedicated to economic and business issues which takes place at the Lenexpo exhibition center May 22-24. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and Federal Security Service Chief Alexander Bortnikov, right, arrives on a boat after inspecting battleships during a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral in the background, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin made no reference to the situation in Ukraine when he opened Friday's parade, focusing on the historic importance of the victory over Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, wearing ribbons symbolizing the Soviet victory in WWII, arrive to attend the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russia marks the Victory Day on May 9 holding a military parade in Red Square in Moscow. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to speak at a parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to speak at a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives on a boat after inspecting battleships during a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Crimea, which hosts a major Russian Black Sea Fleet base, is set to hold a massive navy parade in the port of Sevastopol. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, wearing ribbons symbolizing the Soviet victory in WWII, arrive to attend the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Thousands of Russian troops march on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a proud display of the nation's military might amid escalating tensions over Ukraine. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrive to attend a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russia marked the Victory Day on May 9 holding a military parade at Red Square in Moscow. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russia marked the Victory Day on May 9 holding a military parade at Red Square. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, back, speaks at a meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. At right is Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin oversees a military exercise involving Russian nuclear forces in Defense Ministry's situation room outside Moscow, Thursday, May 8, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday oversaw a military exercise involving Russia's nuclear forces amid escalating tensions over Ukraine. Putin said that the maneuvers involved the military across the entire Russian territory, including the nation's nuclear forces. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russian military's General Staff, right, as he attends a military exercise involving Russia’s nuclear forces, at an undisclosed location outside Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 8, 2014. Putin, speaking from the Defense Ministry’s headquarters where he oversaw the exercise along with leaders of several ex-Soviet nations which are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said that the maneuvers involved the military across the entire Russian territory, including the nation’s nuclear forces. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, attends a meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. At right is Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko enter a hall for bilateral talks after a meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. Putin's visit to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in March, is a 'flagrant violation' of Ukraine's sovereignty, authorities in Kiev said today.AFP PHOTO/ YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. Putin's visit to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in March, is a 'flagrant violation' of Ukraine's sovereignty, authorities in Kiev said today.AFP PHOTO/ YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian security forces guard a checkpoint outside the southern city of Mykolayiv on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV (Photo credit should read ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian security forces guard a checkpoint outside the southern city of Mykolayiv on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV (Photo credit should read ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian security forces guard a checkpoint outside the southern city of Mykolayiv on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV (Photo credit should read ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia militiants take part in a rally marking Victory Day in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia militiants take part in a rally marking Victory Day in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia militiants take part in a rally marking Victory Day in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds pictures of dead relatives during a Victory Day ceremony at the Unknown Sailor Memorial in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left at least 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII STEPANOV (Photo credit should read ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a media meeting organized by the Russian People's Front in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has mocked the Internet as a CIA project and pledged to protect Russia’s interest in the online industry. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting of Russia's People's Front in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Ukrainian government troops moved against pro-Russia forces in the east of the country on Thursday and killed at least two of them in clashes at checkpoints manned by the insurgents, the government and insurgents said. Russian President Vladimir Putin decried what he described as a "punitive operation." (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Royal Dutch Shell's CEO Ben Van Beurden in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
CAPTION CORRECTS THE EVENT Russian President Vladimir Putin enters a hall for a video call with the Prirazlomnaya arctic oil platform marking the launch of production in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves after a video call with the Prirazlomnaya arctic oil platform marking the launch of production in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a video call with the Prirazlomnaya arctic oil platform marking the launch of production in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground, leaves after a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 17, 2014. At left is Head of Russian Television Channel One Konstantin Ernst. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of a board of trustees of the Russian Geographical Society in a library of Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 3, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands at the presentation ceremony of the top military brass in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 28, 2014. Russia's president says Ukraine could regain some arms and equipment of military units in Crimea that did not switch their loyalty to Russia. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Federation Council members in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
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By Darya Korsunskaya

MOSCOW, July 22 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia would try to ensure Ukrainian separatists cooperate with an investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner, but said the West must do more to persuade Kiev to end hostilities.

Putin came out fighting in his most detailed comments since the plane was brought down on Thursday, dismissing criticism of Russia's role in events in rebel-held east Ukraine and describing the West's position as "strange and unacceptable".

Accusing the United States indirectly of pulling the strings in Kiev, trying to bully Russia and meddling in Russia's domestic affairs, the president said in televised remarks: "Such methods will not work on Russia."

Reading from notes at the head of a long table flanked by his top government, parliament, security and defense officials, Putin spoke much more forcefully than during brief televised remarks on the plane's downing first released in the early hours of Monday, when he looked tired and less assured than usual.

He did not, however, directly address accusations by the United States and Ukraine's pro-Western leaders that Moscow is supplying the rebels with arms, including the missile system used to bring down the airliner, and his promise to use Russia's influence with the separatists was vague.

"We are being called on to use our influence with the separatists in southeastern Ukraine. We of course will do everything in our power but that is not nearly enough," Putin told a meeting of his advisory Security Council.

It was a rare acknowledgement that Russia has influence over the rebels, echoing a similar remark by his foreign minister, but he made clear Washington should be doing more to use its sway over the authorities in Kiev, described by a top security aide as the West's henchmen.

"Ultimately, there is a need to call on the authorities in Kiev to respect basic norms of decency, and at least for a short time implement a ceasefire," he said, repeating criticism of Kiev for resuming military operations after a truce.

The former KGB spy also did not respond directly to calls for Russia to tighten controls at the border with Ukraine, which the West says would help prevent arms reaching the rebels who oppose Kiev's rule over the Russian-speaking east.

Putin had previously made only short comments in public on the downing of flight MH17, killing all 298 people on board - the televised remarks standing beside a desk early on Monday and comments filmed at the start of a meeting on Friday.

His new remarks appeared partly to respond to U.S. President Barack Obama, who urged him and Russia on Monday to "pivot away from the strategy that they've been taking and get serious about trying to resolve hostilities within Ukraine".

Obama and other Western leaders have painted this as a last chance for Putin to end the worst crisis in Moscow's relations with the West since the Cold war, hoping he will distance himself from the rebels and cut off any support for them.

Putin has an interest in de-escalating the crisis to avert more Western sanctions on Russia and reduce the risk of events spinning further out of control in east Ukraine. He signalled this by renouncing powers given to him by parliament to send Russia's army into east Ukraine to protect Russian-speakers.

But he is also determined not to be seen to make big concessions - something which would damage his popularity ratings in Russia, which have soared to record highs since the annexation of Crimea in March.

Hitting back, but repeating earlier vague threats, he said Russia, which has been hit by Western sanctions over Crimea, could take steps to protect the economy from "external threats" and strengthen its defences to counter moves by NATO in eastern Europe.

Putin also reiterated his belief that protests that toppled Ukraine's former Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovich in February were an illegal coup instigated and funded from abroad.

"Russia is being presented with what is almost an ultimatum: 'Let us destroy this part of the population that is ethnically and historically close to Russia and we will not impose sanctions against you'," Putin said.

"This is a strange and unacceptable logic."

Earlier on Tuesday, Putin signed into law tougher punishment for public calls for separatism in Russia, including up to four years in jail, but he denied any plans to clamp down on civil society. (Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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