President Putin acknowledges improved environment in Sochi
"The environmental situation has significantly improved here," the Russian leader told journalists during his working visit to Sochi.
According to the president, it pertains to the construction of new roads, which improved the traffic capacity, and elimination of junkyards, VoR's Ksenia Melnikova reports.
"Several estimates show that the environment has become up to four times as better," Putin stated.
In response to a query about his 2007 pledge to get rid of traffic jams in Sochi, the Russian president said: "It seems to have come true".
Speaking about the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Center, he noted that there is no such nursery anywhere in the world.
"In connection with the Olympics we agreed to restore the Persian leopard population," Putin said, adding that this species of felines has been almost completely killed off by poachers.
Vladimir Putin traveled to the nursery using a newly built frontage road of Sochi’s main road.
"I recommend you to use it. It’s a very complicated construction consisting of solid tunnels," Putin underlined.
The Russian leader also stressed that Russian should take pride in all the intersections and highways recently built in Sochi.
"Even I am impressed," he said.
Russia has many decent athletes, who could ignite the Olympic torch at the Olympics opening, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ksenya Melnikova reports. "We have many outstanding, significant and world-wide known athletes and I am not interfering in this process," Putin said.
Putin said he was aware of the guesses and jokes circulating on the Internet regarding the matter.
"I am aware, [presidential spokesman] Dmitry Peskov has told me but it is just rumors," he said.
"I treat with great respect all athletes of high achievements," the president said. Such athletes devote their entire lives to sports and live from training to gatherings, "they almost do not have a life," Putin said.
Most of them work for kopecks out of love for sports and fans, he said.
"That is why they all deserve respect," the president said.
As to the Olympics opening, organizers will be able to find a decent candidate, who will ignite the Olympic flame, Putin said.
"I suppose that this will not be an issue," the president said. "We have many great, outstanding athletes representing winter sports," he added.
When asked by reporters whether Putin wanted to open the Olympics himself, the president said: "I do not represent winter sports, I am just an amateur."
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently paying a working visit to Sochi, has arrived Tuesday at the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Center at Sochi National Park. The head of state intends to personally get to grips with the situation at the nursery and find out the details regarding the living conditions of its inhabitants.
To date, four baby leopards were born at Sochi National Park. Two of them are two years old while two others are only a little over seven months old. Only a sixth-month cub called Grom ("thunder" in English) has its own name. The others have only been given nicknames.
Persian leopards no longer inhabit in the Western Caucasus.
In 2009, Vladimir Putin initiated a program to restore the Persian leopard population in the Caucasus.
Later on, Vladimir Putin is to hold the IOC session.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, TASS