Updated 3:30 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – The only purpose for imposing restrictions on imports from countries that sanctioned Russia is to defend national interests, Moscow does not plan to punish them or put pressure on anyone, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
“In response [to Western sanctions] we introduced protective measures. I would like to stress that they were not caused by the intention to punish our partners or put pressure on them. We think about our own interests and development goals first,” Putin said.
In August, Russia was forced to respond to Western sanctions with a ban on certain food imports from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway.
Last week, presidential aide Andrei Belousov stated that Russia has prepared a new package of retaliatory measures to Western sanctions that include embargoes on imports of secondhand cars and textile products, but refused to give any particular details as to when the measures may come into force.
Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine. The European Union, the United States and their partners have imposed several waves of anti-Russian economic sanctions over Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian internal conflict. The latest round of sanctions came into effect on September 12, targeting Russian defense companies, alongside the country's largest banks,
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that using sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy is ineffective and never yields any results, and added that sanctions always cause certain damage, including to those using this measure. According to Putin, Russian response measures, if introduced, will be aimed solely to create better conditions for the country, just as the previous import ban, which was intended to support Russia's producers.