Russian President Vladimir Putin blames the West for frosty relations and says Moscow will not allow itself to be isolated behind a another ''iron curtain''. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Vladimir Putin blamed the West for worsening relations with Russia since the Ukraine crisis and said Moscow would not allow itself to become internationally isolated behind another "iron curtain" in a wide-ranging interview released by Russians state news agency Itar-Tass on Sunday (November 23). "We understand the fatality of an 'iron curtain', and for us and in other countries' history were periods when countries tried to fence off from the rest of the world and had to pay a very high price for that, practically with degradation and disintegration. We will not go down this path in any case, and no one will build a wall around us. That is impossible." Putin said in the interview. Recorded on Nov. 13, Putin also said Western sanctions against Moscow, combined with the slide in the rouble and the fall in oil prices would have no "catastrophic consequences" on Russia's economy. "The modern world is very interdependent, but this does not mean the sanctions which are being adopted (against Moscow) and sharp drop in the prices of energy commodities and the national currency devaluation - that of all of that would have negative results or catastrophic consequences only for us. Nothing like that will happen," Putin told Itar-Tass reporters The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and ratcheted them up over Moscow's backing of separatists fighting Kiev for control of eastern Ukraine. The sanctions hit Russia's weak economy and sparked a slide in the rouble, which shed about a third of its value this year. Economic woes are exacerbated by a sharp drop in the global price for oil, one of Russia's main exports. Putin said a large oil supply, which he blamed for the price fall, came from the U.S. shale fields, Libya and Saudi Arabia, as well as from Iraq, including what he said were black market sales by Islamic State militants who hold swathes of that country. Russia's ties with the West are at their worst since the Cold War because of Ukraine, where more than 4,300 people have been killed since violence erupted in the east mid-April. Still, Putin said, Russia would not isolate itself from world affairs.