Russian President Putin calls new Western sanctions ''strange,'' warns of fresh retaliation and accuses West of disrupting peace process in Ukraine. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is weighing the response to a new round of sanctions from the West. The EU and US tightened economic penalties on Moscow, accusing it of sending troops to back pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine. Putin, who regularly denies any involvement and already responded with import bans, says his government was looking at more ways to hit back. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Regarding our retaliatory measures, the government is thinking about them. If any are applied, it will only be those that will create better conditions for us. I think that what was done on the restrictions over the import of food products. There are negatives for us also, of course, but they are minimal. There were more positives for stimulating our own agriculture." He also questions the move because he says he has given his backing to peace efforts in eastern Ukraine. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Regarding these sanctions, which were introduced yesterday or today, they look a bit strange. Because, you are aware that recently I held talks by phone with the Ukrainian President Poroshenko, and in process of these talks I suggested an action plan on the peaceful resolution of ending this conflict." The EU has said it could lift some, or even all sanctions, if Moscow abides by fragile truce in Ukraine and other parts of a peace plan agreed to earlier this month.