MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that he was sure that Crimea’s reunification with Russia would be followed by sanctions against Moscow.
"I had no doubt about that, although it was unclear in what way it was going to be done," Putin said, answering a question from TV host Vladimir Solovyov in the World Order 2018 documentary on whether he expected that sanctions would be imposed on Russia after the so-called "Crimean Spring."
"While making these decisions, I had to evaluate Crimea’s return and the possible ramifications to our relations with many countries around the globe," the president added.
He stressed that "when we consider the destinies of millions of people on the one hand, and the fact that Crimea is home to over two million people who want to return to Russia, with the difficulties in relations with other countries on the other, the former is far more important."
"Sometimes, I get the feeling, and I believe there are certain grounds for that, that someone deliberately steered us towards this line, and after reaching it we had to act the way we did. Few people expected that we would act so quickly and decisively, if not downright, audaciously. Our opponents have formulated the right tactics, and they achieve their goals strategically to a certain degree. I believe, however, that we will eventually win all the same," he said.
Speaking about the prospects for lifting sanctions, the president emphasized once again that they were not imposed by Russia, and some opponents of these sanctions in European countries cannot sway the decision for their removal. "What can they do? They are very dependent within the European Union, they cannot do anything on their own," he pointed out.
Referring to the sanctions policy in general, Putin noted that the policy of lumping everyone into sanctions lists is a sign of weakness rather than of strength. "What actually happened? They indiscriminately included all in some blacklist and called everyone an enemy. This is a sign of weakness rather than of strength, when they try to kill two birds with one stone. It does not work like that, this is a manifestation of incompetence," Putin said, commenting on the host's remark about the US sanctions lists against Iran and North Korea.