Putin says Russia is not isolated over Ukraine crisis: TASS

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 23, 2014 4:32 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin denied Moscow would be isolated internationally over the Ukraine crisis and said Russia's economy would not be the only one to suffer from Western sanctions and falls in oil prices and the rouble.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and its backing for separatists in the east opposed to Kiev's rule.

"We understand the fatality of an 'Iron Curtain' for us," Putin was quoted as saying the TASS news agency in an interview published on Sunday. "We will not go down this path in any case and no one will build a wall around us. That is impossible!"

Sanctions have hit Russia's weak economy and sparked a slide in rouble, pressure exacerbated by a sharp drop in the global price for oil, one of Russia's main exports.

"If the price of energy is lowered on purpose, this also hits those who introduce those limits," Putin said.

"It's far from certain that sanctions, sharp falls in the oil price (and) the depreciation of the national currency will cause negative effects or catastrophic consequences only for us. No such thing will happen!"

Putin linked the oil price slide to the rise in U.S. shale oil and gas production, increased output from Libya and Saudi Arabia, as well as output from Iraq, including what he said were black market sales by Islamic State militants who control swathes of that country.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Jon Boyle)