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At the congress of Russia’s Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Putin stressed that Russia did not intend to be at war with anyone and was always willing to cooperate.
He reiterated that sanctions against Russia would never have the desired effect, although they do have a negative impact on the country’s economy.
“We must realise this, and make all possible efforts to strengthen our sovereignty, including in the economic sphere,” Putin said in a statement posted online, pledging Russia’s firm stance against external pressure which was imposed on the country over Ukraine crisis, Xinhua reported.
US Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday told the 51st Munich Security Conference that Washington would continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was present at the conference, reiterated that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military build-up near the Russian borders was fuelling up confrontation and undermining European security.
“Lavrov stressed that NATO support of Kiev’s military action in southern Ukraine hampers attempts to find a peaceful resolution of the deep domestic crisis in Ukraine,” said an online statement released by the ministry.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded by saying that all the measures taken by NATO were defensive and promised to maintain an open dialogue channel with Moscow.
Defence ministers of the NATO decided on Thursday to strengthen the alliance’s presence in eastern Europe and the Baltic region and expand the size of its rapid reaction force to 30,000.