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Putin: West 'Pressures' Russia Because of Its 'Independent' Policies

  • VOA News

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the gala concert of the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition at the Moscow Conservatory, Russia, July 2, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the gala concert of the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition at the Moscow Conservatory, Russia, July 2, 2015.

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia is being pressured because it is carrying out independent foreign and domestic policies.

"The reasons for the pressure on Russia are clear," he told a meeting of the Kremlin's Security Council. "We conduct independent domestic and foreign policies, [we] do not sell our sovereignty. Not everyone likes that, but it cannot be any other way."

Referring to the sanctions the United States and its European allies have imposed on Russian for its actions in Ukraine, Putin said "attempts to split, to divide our society have failed."

He added that those who impose "the so-called sanctions" are themselves to blame for what is happening in eastern Ukraine, where fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 6,500 people since the conflict began in April 2014.

Still, he said Russia will remain "open to equal cooperation, collaboration on key issues on the international agenda" without harming its "sovereignty and national security."

Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said during Friday's meeting that Western sanctions against Russia are aimed at reducing its "economic potential," influencing the policies it is pursuing internationally and changing the country's current leadership.

Patrushev, who previously headed Russia's main domestic security agency [the Federal Security Service, or FSB], said it was necessary to develop measures to take against individual countries and groups of countries that support further "restrictive measures" against Russia.

He also accused the United States of having initiated what he called "a coup" in Ukraine -- an apparent reference to last year's overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine's pro-Russia president.

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