Putin: Impact Of Sanctions Against Russia Not 'drastic'
New sanctions bill against Moscow is evidence of 'internal political struggle' in US, President Vladimir Putin says,
The impacts of sanctions against Russia have not been "drastic" compared to the global conjuncture, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"What did those sanctions do? Did they make an impact or not? Yes, they did. Was the impact drastic or not? I do not think so," Putin said during the annual live Direct Line, during which he answered questions from Russians.
Putin said the global conjuncture and low prices in traditional goods, oil and gas, chemicals had a "bigger" effect on the Russian economy than the sanctions.
His remarks came a day after the U.S. Senate approved by a wide margin new economic sanctions against Moscow.
"We know that a bill has come up again in the U.S. Senate on tightening sanctions. Why? There is nothing strange. What is the reason to debate on new sanctions again?" Putin said.
He added that the tightening of sanctions against Russia was evidence of the "internal political struggle" in the U.S.
Following the 97-2 vote, Republican Senator of Idaho Mike Crapo, who introduced the measure, said it "will result in very powerful new sanctions against Russia".
Support for additional economic penalties has been building after U.S. intelligence officials said Russia directly attempted to interfere in last year's race for the White House, saying the "influence campaign" was supported by top Russian leadership, namely, Putin.
The Kremlin has always denied the claims, saying there was no "direct" proof that Moscow meddled in the U.S. presidential election.
Putin said Russia did not consider the U.S. as an "enemy".