Putin suspects U.S. sanctions aim to gain competitive advantages against EU

Russian President Vladimir Putin suspects that the U.S. wish to impose additional sanctions on Russia may be linked to its aspiration for competitive advantages in trade with Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suspects that the U.S. wish to impose additional sanctions on Russia may be linked to its aspiration for competitive advantages in trade with Europe.

"By insisting on sanctions against Russia, I suspect that our American friends, and they are shrewd guys, may wish to gain certain competitive advantages in their trade and economic relations with Europe," Putin said at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday.

"Hopefully, common sense will win and no harm will be done to our trade and economic relations," Putin said.

The president said there was no reason to launch the so-called third package of economic sanctions against Russia.

"We are being told about some other, probably, a third package of sanctions. And I have a question as to why. All right, our partners might have not liked something at a certain stage of the crisis, including about the Crimea, and sanctions were imposed. Now they are trying to accuse us of something else and tell us there will be a second and then a third package of sanctions. I do not quite understand in what connection," the Russian president wondered.

"Say, for instance, a quake had lately jolted Thailand and there were casualties. Can we be responsible for that as well?" Putin wondered.

"A civil war is starting in Ukraine, but what do we have to do with that?" the Russian president asked.

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