Putin Says Russia Will Not Scale Back Ties With Europe, America

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AFP- President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (Dec 4) the West had used the Ukraine crisis and the annexation of Crimea as a pretext to slap sanctions against Russia.

“Every time someone believes Russia has become too strong, independent, these instruments get applied immediately,” Putin said in his state of the nation address, referring to sanctions. The West “would have thought up some other excuse to contain Russia’s growing possibilities” if there had been no tension over Crimea and Ukraine.

However, President Putin pledged that Russia would not scale back its ties with the West despite bitter ongoing confrontation over the Ukraine crisis.

“Under no circumstances are we going to scale back our ties with Europe, America, at the same time we will revive and expand traditional ties with the south of the American continent, will continue cooperation with Africa, with countries in the Middle East,” Putin said in his state of the nation address at the Kremlin.

Putin also demanded that the central bank and government initiate ‘tough actions’ to stop rouble speculation after the currency hit new all-time lows this week.

“I ask the Bank of Russia and the government to carry out tough coordinated actions to discourage the so-called speculators from trading on the fluctuations of the Russian currency,” he said.

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