West to always seek new pretexts for Russia sanctions; unlikely to change approach in next decade - Putin
MOSCOW. March 31 (Interfax) - The West will continue looking for new pretexts to impose sanctions on Russia in the near term, and this should be built into the system of economic development planning, President Vladimir Putin said.
"The collective West is not going to drop its policy of economic pressure on Russia. Moreover, it will of course always be looking for more pretexts for sanctions; yes, pretexts. So, it's not worth counting on a change to these approaches to occur any time soon," Putin told a meeting on the development of air transportation and aircraft-production on Thursday.
"I therefore ask the government, the Bank of Russia, and the constituent parts of our federation, when planning the systemic work of developing the economy, and its specific sectors, to go by [the fact] that our country will remain under the pressure of sanctions just as it has been in previous decades. Such is objective reality," he said.
For years, Russia has been targeted by illegal sanctions and restrictions whose "aim is to check Russia's development, to undermine our sovereignty, and to weaken our potential in production, finance and technology.
"I repeat: all these sanctions had been in the making, and they would have been imposed any way. I want to stress that. Essentially, these are sanctions for our right to freedom, our right to be independent, and our right to be Russia. For our not wanting to dance to someone else's tune, to sacrifice our national interests and traditional values," Putin said.