Second set of US sanctions against Russia not related to situation in Ukraine – President Putin

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The EU’s new sanctions against Russia can be explained by the fact that Europe is trying to find those responsible for the processes ongoing in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. New EU sanctions against Russia occur as Europe is trying to find someone to blame for the processes taking place in Ukraine. “As for the second set, it is not even clear what it is about, I can hardly explain what is the reason for it, because there is no link between what is happening now in Ukraine and Russia”, Putin told reporters.

He expressed his view that the Western partners “used the force scenario to find solution to the Ukrainian crisis, and then realized what it leads to. So they are trying to find someone to blame now.” “But I have to say that Russia has nothing to do with it,” said Putin.

The President has again criticized the West in the absence of logic. “I consider the first so-called set to be an unfriendly and illegal act in relation to Russia, which is certainly detrimental to the US-Russian and Russian-European relations. It is absolutely obvious when we talk about the second set”, Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes there is no need for Russia to impose its own sanctions on the EU and the US in response to their sanctions against Russia but warns of their possible consequences for Western companies’ presence in the key sectors of the Russian economy.

“The government has already proposed some response steps, and I think there is no need for this. But if something of the sort continues, we will certainly have to see carefully who works in the key sectors of the Russian economy and how, including in the energy sector,” Putin said in taking questions from journalists following a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk on Tuesday.

“We really wouldn’t like to resort to any response steps, and I hope this won’t be necessary,” he said.

US run processes in Ukraine since very start – Putin

What is happening in Ukraine now shows who has run the process since the very start, but the US first preferred to remain in the shadow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“I think what is happening now shows us who has really run the process from the very start. But the United States first preferred to remain in the shadow. The US’ and its European partners’ interests coincided at first, as the European Union, represented by the European Commission, wanted to conclude the well-known agreement with Ukraine on conditions that I believe were unfavorable to Ukraine,” Putin said following a meeting with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus in Minsk on Tuesday.

The previous Ukrainian government tried to oppose this, he said.

“But, as I have said already, the Western community followed and implemented a different scenario, a forcible one – an anti-constitutional coup and an armed seizure of power. Perhaps not thinking and not planning what this could have led to,” Putin said.

Someone might have liked this, “and probably quite a lot of people in Ukraine supported this, but many don’t like this,” Putin said.

“They disagree with this form of government change. There is nothing democratic in this. These people should be reckoned with, and their legitimate rights should be respected,” he said, Interfax reports.

No Russian troops or instructors in Ukraine – Putin

There are no Russian military servicemen or security forces in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“We hear that there are our special forces or our instructors there. I am telling you responsibly: there are no Russian instructors, or special forces, or troops, or anybody else there,” Putin told journalists on Tuesday.

“They made this mess themselves, but they want to settle this by our hands. But can this be settled? Perhaps it can,” Putin said.

For this to happen, all parties to the conflict should sit at the negotiating table and respect the Geneva accords, he said. “And this means that the Kiev authorities should release those whom the people in Ukraine trust and choose them as their leaders from prison. They need to start a direct dialogue with these people, they need to disarm the Right Sector radicals and other special radical groups, vacate all buildings in Kiev instead of legalizing them, and equally treat the legitimate rights of those who live in other regions of Ukraine,” Putin said, adding that he implied mainly the eastern and southeastern parts of Ukraine, Interfax reports.

Western sanctions to have no impact on Eurasian integration – Putin

US and EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis cannot affect the Eurasian integration, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

They can’t have any impact [on Eurasian integration] as this issue concerns only the countries that are involved in this integration, Putin told reporters after a summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in the Belarusian capital.

Putin said that the members of the Customs Union, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan made significant progress in preparation of the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, which is expected to be signed in May, RIA reports.

In November 2011, the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents signed a declaration on Eurasian economic integration, a roadmap of integration processes aimed at creating the Eurasian Economic Union, which will be based on the Customs Union and common economic space among the three countries. Leaders of the Customs Union, which formally came to existence in January 2010, held a summit in the Belarusian capital on Tuesday to discuss the preparation of the treaty.

Earlier Tuesday the European Union imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 15 additional Russian and Ukrainian officials. The decision brings to 48 the number of people that the EU has put under sanctions in response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia, which the West does not acknowledge, as well as Moscow current stand on Ukrainian crisis.

US Treasury Department Monday had also imposed sanctions, including asset freezes and visa bans, on seven Russian individuals as well as 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that talking in the language of sanctions is inappropriate and counterproductive and warned its Western partners about the boomerang effect that sanctions would have.

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