If there had been no escalation of tensions of Ukraine or the Crimean events, foreign partners would have come up with other excuses in favor of isolating Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday.
"It is necessary to treat the legitimate interests of all participants in international communication respectfully. Only in this case, laws, not cannons, missiles or military aircraft, will reliably protect the world from bloody conflicts," Putin said.
"In this case, there will be no need to threaten anyone with alleged isolation, deceiving oneself, or with sanctions, which are certainly harmful and hurt all parties, including those who initiate them," the Russian president said.
When commenting on the current sanctions, Putin said that "it is not just a nervous response from the U.S. or its allies to our position in connection with the events and the coup in Ukraine, and not even in connection with the so-called "Crimean spring". I am convinced that if these events had not happened, they would have come up with another excuse seeking to restrain Russia\'s growing potential, influence it or, even better, use it in their own interests."
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