Russian leader tell reporters that Western powers 'are looking for someone to blame' over Ukraine crisis
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized U.S. and EU sanctions against his country and claimed that although there are no immediate plans to retaliate, if the measures continued Russia would respond.
Putin was talking to journalists after a Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
"We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in response. I hope we won't get to that point," Putin told correspondents.
"But if something like that continues, we will of course have to think about who is working in the key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy sector, and how."
He said the United States' first package of sanctions was a hostile act against Russia and these would definitely damage relations not only between Russia and the U.S. but also between Moscow and the European Union.
Putin claimed the Ukrainian crisis not related to Russia, saying: "Our partners tried to settle the Ukrainian crisis using force, then realised what this leads to and are now looking for someone to blame. Let me say though that this has nothing to do with Russia."
Washington announced new sanctions against Russia on Monday, targeting seven new Russian government officials and 17 companies linked to President Putin’s inner circle.
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