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Putin Says New Sanctions Unrelated to Russia's Role in Ukraine

Published: April 30, 2014 (Issue # 1808)



  • President Vladimir Putin speaking at a Supreme Eurasian Council press conference on Tuesday.
    Photo: Kremlin.ru

President Vladimir Putin has said that fresh punitive measures against Russia by the West are based on false claims of supposed Russian interference in Ukraine, insisting that Moscow has "nothing to do" with the crisis across the border.

Speaking Tuesday at a press conference in reaction to new sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the EU earlier this week, Putin called the first wave of punitive measures "illegal," and the latest round incomprehensible, a statement published on the Kremlin website said.

"As for the second so-called package, it's not even clear what this is all about," he said. "I am having trouble to explain what this is related to, because there is no cause and effect connection between what is happening in Ukraine, and Russia."

"Russia has nothing to do with it," Putin said, referring to increasing tensions in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have seized city halls, police stations and other government buildings in at least 10 cities and towns.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week there was considerable evidence to support claims of "a strong connection between Russia and the armed militants" in eastern Ukraine.

But Putin accused Moscow's Western "partners" of "searching for a guilty party" to blame for the unrest.

"We are hearing that they are our special forces, or our instructors," he said. "I am stating with full authority: There are neither Russian instructors, nor special forces, nor troops, there is nobody there."

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also lashed out Tuesday at the "sanctions declared by the U.S. and the EU, against common sense, in connection to the events in Ukraine."

"Attempts to blame one's own sins on somebody else is the strategy of weak politicians or of those who have realized that their geopolitical ambitions have failed, and are trying to take out their anger on somebody else," Lavrov said during a visit to Cuba, a transcript of his speech published on the ministry's website said.

Ahead of Russia's annexation of Crimea last month, Putin and other top Kremlin officials have also asserted that the heavily armed men in uniforms without insignia who showed up on the peninsula — looking very much like the "green men" now leading protests in eastern Ukraine — were members of local self-defense units, with no ties to Russia.

Putin's categorical denial of the Kremlin's meddling in Ukraine and his insistence that the sanctions are illegitimate enjoy wide support in Russia, a view upheld by the country's major state-controlled television channels.

The White House measures announced Tuesday comprised asset freezes and travel bans against seven more Russian officials and 17 companies close to Putin.

The EU, which had sanctioned 48 individuals since Russia's annexation of Crimea in March, also ordered similar measures Tuesday against 15 individuals, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Russian Armed Forces staff head General Valery Gerasimov, and vice speaker of the State Duma Lyudmila Shvetsova.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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