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Putin: New EU sanctions 'odd', Russia will consider safe alternatives, won't harm itself ― RT News

The latest list of sanctions looks “quite odd” in view of the peace drive including a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said as the EU’s restricting measures came into force Friday.

Speaking after a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Putin said that Russia has not ruled out responding with tit-for-tat sanctions. At the same time, he said, those measures would only be implemented if they did not harm Russia, and if they would help protect the country.

"The government is thinking about that. But if they are to be imposed, this will be to create better conditions for ourselves,” Putin said.

As for trade partnerships and cooperation in sectors targeted by the EU sanctions, Putin said that “there is always an alternative” in case somebody “does not want to work with Russia.”

“There are some things that are negative, but if we consider the problem in its totality, there is more positive than negative,” Putin said, adding that sanctions open up opportunities for Russia’s manufacturers.

Putin has criticized attempts to “destabilize” the situation in Ukraine rather than solve it. Putting the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, on the list of people sanctioned may jeopardize the peace talks in Ukraine, Putin said.

“I have this seditious thought on my mind, that Ukraine itself is not a subject of interest, rather it is simply being used as a tool to undermine international relations,” Putin said.