MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published Sunday that Russia did not want to isolate itself behind a new Iron Curtain, which he said would be disastrous for the country.
Asked if Russia wanted to build new fences, he said, "We don't. And we won't do this. We understand the disastrous consequence of an Iron Curtain for us.
"In other countries there have been periods when countries tried to barricade themselves off from the rest of the world, paying a very high price for this," Putin said in the interview with TASS news agency.
He argued that Russia "simply does not need to compete with the West" and should "peacefully carry out its agenda." But at the same time, Putin said that he was not bothered by being personally isolated by world leaders after he faced a hostile reception at the G20 summit in Brisbane over Russia's actions in Ukraine and left early.
Putin said he was not interested in the opportunity "to slap each other on the shoulder, call each other friends, go on visits to each other and go to the G8" if world leaders did not take Russia's position into account.
"I didn't become president of a country to satisfy my personal ambitions. It's absolutely no use to me, if they neglect Russia's interests. That means then we won't go to visit them, but meet at other forums, in a business-like atmosphere," Putin said.