December 23, at a large press conference with the media, Vladimir Putin said that no torture had been perpetrated against the Ukrainian "spies" detained in Russia.
“Regarding the military personnel and intelligence officers, no one was tortured and beaten, and the fact they give a sincere confession, is easily to check. They gave particular data, managers, location and secret addresses, including those in Crimea."
The Head of the aggressor state mentioned the other detained Ukrainians:
“With regard to directors and journalists: first must engage in journalism, while others in the production of plays and films. But what do we do if a film director was plotting acts of terrorism? Must he be released only for the fact that he is a director? If we let him go, then how does it differ from a Russian spy? Tomorrow there will be others. We must agree to stop all this and grant them amnesty.”
Speaking about the exchange of prisoners, Putin said that to implement it in the "all for all" format, Poroshenko must first grant pardon for war criminals.
“Poroshenko offered to exchange all for all. I agree with this, but there are some details that the representatives of Donbas are not satisfied with. In particular, those prisoners who are kept in the territory of Donbas, the Ukrainian authorities consider illegally detained. At the same time, on the territory controlled by Kyiv, there is a certain number of prisoners who are legitimately convicted, though they are not included in the exchange list. To continue the negotiation process, all of them need to be pardoned and released, otherwise it will be very difficult to negotiate.”
Earlier today, asked about the impact of sanctions on the Russian budget and the implementation of government social obligations, Putin announced the parameters of budget reduction for support of the military-industrial complex and the national army. According to President of the Russian Federation, in 2017 it is planned that the budget expenditure on defense would be 4.3%, and by 2019 it will be reduced to 2.8% of GDP.