Russia ‘Won’t Be Intimidated’ Over Crimea

Russia ‘Won’t Be Intimidated’ Over CrimeaRussia ‘Won’t Be Intimidated’ Over Crimea

Russia will not be intimidated over its actions in Ukraine and Crimea, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday as his foreign ministry warned that it was preparing to retaliate against fresh Western sanctions.

Both the European Union and United States adopted tighter restrictions on investments in Crimea this week, while Canada rachetted up its own sanctions directed at Moscow.

Speaking at a concert honoring past and present security service staff, Putin said he had heard people calling for Russia to “pay dearly for its independent position backing compatriots and Crimea... (and) just for the mere fact that we exist,” Reuters reported.

“Obviously, no one will succeed in intimidating us, to deter, to isolate Russia,” he said in comments that were shown by state-run Rossiya 24 TV.

Separately, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that new Western sanctions against Ukraine’s Crimea region represented a “collective punishment” against residents who had voted overwhelmingly in a referendum last March to join Russia.

“It is sad that the countries which call themselves democratic resort to such methods in the 21st century,” the ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the sanctions undermined political efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“We advise Washington and Ottawa to think about the consequences of such actions. Meanwhile, we will work on retaliatory measures,” he said in comments published on the ministry web site.

Russia retaliated to earlier sanctions by limiting food imports from a range of Western countries.