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Putin rejects 'new Cold War' claims

Russian leader says he does not expect a 'new Cold War' over Ukraine and says Russia is impossible to isolate.

Last updated: 24 May 2014 18:44
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Putin tells journalists 'new Cold War' label 'is a media weapon of war' [Reuters]

President Vladimir Putin has said he does not expect a new Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine and denied trying to revive the Soviet Union following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

In an interview with international news agencies on Saturday, Putin blamed the violence and political instability in Ukraine on the West and said he hoped Europe and the US were ready for compromise.

"I would not like to think this is the start of a new Cold war. It is in no one's interest and I think it will not happen," said Putin, sitting at a large table with journalists in a palace outside the former imperial capital, St Petersburg, the Reuters news agency reported.

He denied that plans to form a Russia-led trading bloc with two former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan and Belarus, meant he wanted to rebuild as much as he could of the Soviet empire that collapsed in 1991.

"They try to stick this label on us - a label that we are trying to restore an empire, the Soviet Union, make everyone subordinate.

This absolutely does not correspond to reality," he said. "It is a media weapon of war."

Responding to remarks attributed to Britain's Prince Charles, comparing his actions to those of Adolf Hitler, Putin said they were unacceptable and not worthy of royalty.

"I did not hear this expression. If it was said then of course this is unacceptable." 

"I think he himself understands that. He is an educated man... This is unroyal behaviour," the AFP news agency reported.

East-West relations have reached their lowest level since the end of the Cold War following the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Moscow president in February and Russia's annexation of Crimea in March.

Holding the briefing on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, the country's largest economic
event, Putin said that Russia took account of other countries' interests, and must also be treated equally.

Criticising European Union and US sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, he said Russia would not be isolated internationally because of the crisis.

"I think that the idea of isolating such a country can only be temporary. It is impossible," he said.

Russia signed this week a 30-year deal to supply natural gas to China, worth $400 billion.

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