MINSK (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia saw no need for counter sanctions against the West, but could reconsider the participation of Western companies in its economy, including energy projects, if sanctions continued.
"We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in response. I hope we won't get to that point" he told reporters after meeting leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan. "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."
The United States on Monday unveiled a new round of sanctions aimed at business leaders and companies close to Putin, while the European Union followed up on Tuesday by naming 15 Russians and Ukrainians to its blacklist, moving to freeze assets and deny visas.
"Regarding the second package, it's not clear at all what this is linked to, because there is no cause and effect link with what is happening now in Ukraine and Russia," he said.
Putin reiterated his accusations that the United States was orchestrating the Ukraine crisis and urged Kiev and pro-Russia protesters to respect the Geneva agreements, reached on April 17 and intended to defuse the crisis, and sit down at the negotiation table.
The United States and European Union accuse Moscow of orchestrating an uprising of pro-Russian separatists in south-eastern Ukraine.
The crisis has brought relations between the West and Russia to their lowest since the end of the Cold War.
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, writing by Alexei Anishchuk, editing by Nigel Stephenson)