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PUTIN UNCERTAIN WHETHER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENCY FOR A THIRD TIME
MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin does not intend to run for presidency in 2008. He made the statement at a meeting with German and Russian mass media executives in Hanover.
"According to the Constitution, it is prohibited to take part in a presidential campaign three consecutive times, and I will not amend the supreme law," Putin was quoted as saying by the Kommersant newspaper on Tuesday.
At the same time Putin noted that the Constitution allows to be elected for a third term in presidency after a break in office, the newspaper reports. "However, I am not sure if I will want to," President Putin said.
Asked about Ukraine's admission to the EU, Putin said, "There is a humanitarian aspect in this issue. If Ukraine joins the Schengen zone, there will be a problem. As far as I know, no less than 17% of Russians live in Ukraine. This means that in this case people will be divided. And it reminds me of the division of Germany into Western and Eastern ones!"
The Russian head of state also commented on the Estonian and Lithuanian leaders' refusal to arrive in Moscow for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of victory over Nazism.
"The problem is in self-identification. Identity is a typical problem of small nations, so we must just wait," Putin believes.
The meeting with journalists lasted about three hours, Kommersant reports. It was also attended by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.