'I never discuss my family: my daughters are not involved in business'

Journalists listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015.

Journalists listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015.

The Russian President holding his 11th annual December news conference. Around 1,400 journalists are expected to attend.

UPD at 15:10 p.m. MSK: And Putin has ended the press conference, answering the last question about Sevastopol naval base and its importance to the country.

UPD at 15:01 p.m. MSK: Putin: I've known Nemtsov personally, he chose his opposition path but it doesn't mean he had to be killed. Those responsible will be found.

UPD at 15:00 p.m. MSK: Putin "won't rush" with revoking ban for adoption of Russian kids by Americans.

UPD at 14:51 p.m. MSK: Putin says, the closure was not due to a breach of trust with Egypt, but because of security concerns for Russian citizens. Unfortunately, the Egyptian intelligence services cannot completely guarantee the security of Russians, he adds.

UPD at 14:47 p.m. MSK: Question from an Egyptian journalist about when Russia will lift the ban on Egypt for Russian tourists.

UPD at 14:45 p.m. MSK: Putin denied allegations that Russia has already invested $3.5 billion into construction of Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey. "So far we haven't even obtained the construction permit," Putin said, stressing that the issue is subject of negotiations on a business level. (rt.com)

UPD at 14:42 p.m. MSK: Putin on gas: we'll continue developing Yamal projects & LNG terminal, support foreign investment into these projects.

UPD at 14:32 p.m. MSK: After snafu with South Stream, Putin demands written guarantee from Euro commission that any new pipeline projects will be made a priority.

UPD at 14:36 p.m. MSK: Transit and transportation system still an unsure issue - Putin.

UPD at 14:35 p.m. MSK: Exploration of new oil fields in Russia never stopped since the Soviet times because "nobody wants to kill the goose that lays the golden egg." The Russian government stimulates exploration by both state-owned and private companies, Putin said. (rt.com)

UPD at 14:32 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 14:18 p.m. MSK: A journalist asked a question about Ekaterina Tikhonova, who some media reports claimed was Putin’s daughter.  

Putin: I read the media reports about Tikhonova. And I also read that my daughters were studying abroad. I'm proud of them. And they never left Russia. They got their education here.They are neither into business nor politics.

UPD at 14:16 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 14:15 p.m. MSK: Answering a question about the pension age, Putin said he tries hard to not raise it, but this creates some problems.

UPD at 13:59 p.m. MSK: Russian regional journalist praises Putin for being "in good sporting form". Putin responds: "And without doping, too."

UPD at 13:57 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 13:56 p.m. MSK: Doping ruins the health of people. So when somebody is using it (banned substances), he or she should be punished - Putin. 

UPD at 13:49 p.m. MSK: "Why should we have a base there (in Syria)? If we are to really hit some target, we will do that," Putin said

UPD at 13:46 p.m. MSK: Question from a Wall Street Journal reporter. Is this the right time to sell Gazprom and other big state companies to help Russia? 

Putin: Is the market situation suitable to sell these companies? Rosneft, for example. I'm not sure. In 2015, the government did not make any decisions on privatisation. But I'm not sure that it will not happen in future.

UPD at 13:38 p.m. MSK: Russian authorities are "obliged" to react to allegations in the media regarding corruption on the part of high-profile Russian officials, Putin said, answering a question about recent coverage in the media about Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and the business of his children.

"What we need to understand is whether his children violated the law and if there is a conflict of interest," the president said.

“The Presidential Control Directorate is verifying the information about the Prosecutor General published in the media."

UPD at 13:35 p.m. MSK: We were not the cause to this. Georgia bears whole responsibility for it - Putin.

UPD at 13:34 p.m. MSK: The U.S. didn't give Saakashvili working visa, so they sent him to Ukraine. It's a spit to the Ukraine's face - Putin.

UPD at 13:31 p.m. MSK: Question about when Russia will restore relations with Georgia.

UPD at 13:31 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 13:29 p.m. MSK: Regarding the Platon system: in all transport areas - aviation, cargo fleet, railways - companies are paying transport taxes, but also paying for using the infrastructure. But in auto transport, they pay it only partly - Putin.

UPD at 13:27 p.m. MSK: Why are Russian truckers protesting? 10 questions and answers

UPD at 13:26 p.m. MSK: There is a question about a newly implemented system of charging additional toll from cargo trucks that use federal roads. 

UPD at 13:21 p.m. MSK: Putin: You can't resolve transport problems in big cities without building toll roads. Billing should be done by regional authorities.

UPD at 13:20 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 13:14 p.m. MSK: Putin is asked about major accusations of corruption against eminent businessmen and government officials.

UPD at 13:12 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 13:10 p.m. MSK: Money for Russia's Syria gambit comes from funds for training forces&massive military exercises being reallocated for Syria strikes.

UPD at 13:07 p.m. MSK: Putin: We didn't start a war, and are just undertaking a military operations. This will not be too heavy for the Russian budget.

UPD at 13:06 p.m. MSK: Question: Will Russia have enough resources to sustain the war in Syria and the crisis?

UPD at 13:03 p.m. MSK: Putin says, the EU asked Russia not to do so and promised to settle all matters, but according to the Russian President this did not happen

UPD at 13:02 p.m. MSK: From January 1, 2016, we will see a drastic erosion in trade relations between Russia and Ukraine, because we had to end the free trade agreement with Ukraine

UPD at 13:00 p.m. MSK: Putin's popularity is easy to explain

UPD at 12:58 p.m. MSK: Putin says there are no Russian troops in Ukraine. And says Russia will continue the dialogue and the exchange of prisoners on an equal basis. "Why not exchange all prisoners?"

UPD at 12:55 p.m. MSK: Question from a Ukrainian journalist: The timeframe for the Minsk accords is coming to an end. What can we expect from Russia in Donbass next year?

UPD at 12:51 p.m. MSK: We support U.S. initiative on drafting UNSC resolution on Syria, it should be acceptable to Syrian leadership as well.

UPD at 12:49 p.m. MSK: Putin essentially says that ISIS may have been created and used as a vehicle for oil smuggling out of Iraq and Syria.

UPD at 12:47 p.m. MSK: Yes, the only solution to the crisis is a political one. This will be done sooner or later.

UPD at 12:46 p.m. MSK: Question: we have a plan and a strategy in Syria? When will Russia stop its operations? Can the crisis in Syria be resolved politically?

UPD at 12:45 p.m. MSK: I see no way to build relations with Turkey on a governmental level.

UPD at 12:43 p.m. MSK: Our position is unchanged: only the Syrian people can decide who governs their country.

UPD at 12:40 p.m. MSK: And If Turkish jets were violating Syria's airspace, let them approach it now (reminding viewers that Russia installed an air defense system near its base in Latakia after the downing of the Russian Su-24). 

UPD at 12:38 p.m. MSK: If Turkey wanted to lick Americans somewhere, I neither think this was a right choice, nor that the US needed this

UPD at 12:36 p.m. MSK: We think, that Turkey acted in a very unfriendly manner. What made us upset is that in such a case, people should call us and explain. Instead they first called NATO.

UPD at 12:35 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 12:32 p.m. MSK: I don't plan any significant changes in the government. We will make some slight changes to its structure. In general I think the government is working well, but yes, I agree that it could do better

UPD at 12:31 p.m. MSK: Do you like how the government is working? Don't you think some of the minsters should be replaced?

UPD at 12:29 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 12:26 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 12:23 p.m. MSK: Putin: everybody wants key interest rate to be lower. Says he supports central bank's policy in trying to maintain macro stability.

UPD at 12:21 p.m. MSK: The policy to replace imports in not a panacea for making the economy grow again.

In 2016, the Russian economy will witness a growth of around 0.7%.

UPD at 12:20 p.m. MSK: The Russian President says oil prices of $50 per barrel is an optimistic prognosis, and that the Russian budget is calculated based on this price.

UPD at 12:17 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 12:14 p.m. MSK: Putin says Russia’s exports have grown this year.

UPD at 12:13 p.m. MSK: Putin says Russia managing to paying off its foreign debt and that is why multinational organisations are interested in working in the country again.

UPD at 12:09 p.m. MSK: Putin answers the first  question about Russia economy. According to him, "There were signs of “stabilisation in the Russian economy” in 2015." "The peak of the crisis has already passed."

UPD at 12:04 p.m. MSK: At the start of the conference, Putin says he doesn’t know what to add to his previous speeches. 

UPD at 12:03 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 12:00 p.m. MSK: Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov says the main questions concern social, economic and international issues.

UPD at 11:55 p.m. MSK: Even before kicking off, the Q&A has set a new record: a total of 1,392 journalists and media representatives plan to attend. It means the 2015 Q&A marathon could beat Putin’s 2008 record, when the president answered 106 questions in 4 hours and 40 minutes (rt.com)

UPD at 11:42 a.m. MSK: Vladimir Putin's annual press conference due to start at 12:00 p.m. Moscow time. 

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