Western sanctions 'severely' harming Russia: Putin

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President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Jan. 11 in an interview with German daily Bild that Western economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis are affecting Russia.

"Concerning our possibilities on the international financial markets, the sanctions are severely harming Russia," he said in a long interview, calling the EU sanctions "a theatre of the absurd".

In late December, the EU extended its sanctions by six months, arguing that the Minsk peace agreement signed by Moscow has not been fully implemented.

Putin said, however, that "the biggest harm is currently caused by the decline of the prices for energy," according to an English-language transcript published by Bild online.

"We suffer dangerous revenue losses in our export of oil and gas, which we can partly compensate for elsewhere," he said.

"But the whole thing also has a positive side: if you earn so many petrodollars, as we once did, that you can buy anything abroad, this slows down developments in your own country."
Putin said Russia was now "gradually stabilizing our economy."     

"Last year, the gross domestic product had dropped by 3.8 percent. Inflation is approximately 12.7 percent. The trade balance, however, is still positive.

"For the first time in many years, we are exporting significantly more goods with a high added value, and we have more than $300 billion in gold reserves."In Photos: At least 27 refugees' bodies wash ashore on Turkey's Aegean coast In Photos: Greek Orthodox Christians dive into cold water to retrieve holy crossIn Photos: Celebrities walked the red carpet at the 73rd Golden GlobesIn photos: Turkey commemorates Rumi with 'Night of Union' ceremony in KonyaIn Photos: Ta?yaran Valley in Aegean region to...

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