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World War Three 'unlikely' if UK ship sunk: Putin

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"Firstly, it was a certainly a provocation, it is obvious that it is a provocation," Putin said.

"You have said that the world was on the verge of the world war. Of course not. Even if we had sunk the British destroyer near Crimea it is unlikely that the world would have been on the verge of World War Three. Those who do it know that they can not emerge the winners of this war," he later added.

Putin also said it would be "pointless" to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, so long as Washington, Paris, and Berlin remain in "control" of Ukraine's affairs.