Putin attacks sanctions, protectionism on eve of G20

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting to make a statement following the talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on July 4, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting to make a statement following the talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on July 4, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked sanctions against his country and called for an end to trade protectionism, in an editorial published in Germany on Thursday ahead of the G20 summit.

Sanctions against Russia “are not just short-sighted but go against the principles of the G20 for cooperation in the interests of all countries”, Putin wrote in the business daily Handelsblatt.

“I am convinced that only open trade relations, based on uniform norms and standards, can stimulate the growth of the world economy and promote an improvement in relations between states,” he added.

The two-day Group of 20 summit, starting in Hamburg on Friday, will bring together the leaders of the world’s biggest developed and emerging economies.

The United States and the European Union (EU) and other countries have imposed a raft of sanctions against Russia for its seizure of Crimea in 2014 and its backing for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has responded with measures of its own, including a ban on western food imports.

Last month, the United States added 38 individuals and entities to its sanctions list, prompting Russia to cancel a meeting with senior US diplomats and its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to warn the new measures “seriously threaten the whole relationship” between Moscow and Washington.

Putin is scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump in Hamburg on Friday.