Russian president Vladimir Putin blamed the West for worsening relations with Russia since the Ukraine crisis and said Moscow would not allow itself to become isolated behind another “Iron Curtain”.
In an interview published by state news agency Tass, Mr Putin also said western sanctions against Moscow, combined with the slide in the ruble and oil price falls would have no “catastrophic consequences” on Russia’s economy.
The US and EU have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Crimean peninsula and ratcheted them up over Moscow’s backing for separatists fighting Kiev troops to split east Ukraine.
“We understand the fatality of an ‘Iron Curtain’ for us,” - Putin said. “We will not go down this path in any case and no one will build a wall around us. That is impossible!”
Russia’s ties with the West are at their worst since the Cold War because of the situation in Ukraine.