Putin tells Canadian PM Russia cannot leave Ukraine as it is not there - Kremlin spokesman

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin got a blunt message when he approached Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a handshake at today's Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

"I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine," Harper told Putin, the prime minister's spokesman Jason MacDonald said in an e-mail.

"The president answered that, unfortunately, this is impossible to do, because we are not there," Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Interfax.

He said Putin and Harper greeted each other and had a brief conversation.

Later on, Peskov denied that Harper had used the "get out of Ukraine" phrase in offering his hand to Putin.

"These headline-hitting reports have nothing to do with reality," the spokesman said. "Harper said that the Russians must leave Ukraine, to which Putin said that this was impossible because there were no Russians there. The Russian army was meant. This certainly was the case, but absolutely within the bounds of decency."

Putin "hasn't come up against" any bluntness of the part of foreign leaders, Peskov said. "Absolutely everyone" is being civil, "[Australian Prime Minister Tony] Abbott, Harper - everyone."

Abbott "is an absolutely hospitable host of the summit," the spokesman said. "He and Putin were together holding koalas in their arms today. And they were enjoying themselves a great deal as well."

Attempts to put a negative touch on what is happening at the summit "are a regular pursuit of cheap sensation," Peskov said.

To a remark that reporters can't take such information out of thin air, he said: "Why not? They can, as practice shows. And they do."

Read more: Putin, Hollande do not discuss Mistrals at meeting in Brisbane - source

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