Predictably, Vladimir Putin is none too pleased with the White House's decision to slap tough new sanctions on Moscow's energy firms, major banks, and a weapons manufacturer. Speaking from Brazil yesterday, Putin slammed America's "aggressive foreign policy" and accused the US of encouraging Ukraine to continue fighting rather than promoting peace. In fact, as bilateral relations near a "dead end," Putin warned that the sanctions would backfire, the BBC reports. "I am convinced that this is harmful to the national long-term strategic interests of the American state, the American people," he said, per the New York Times.
Putin also appeared to blame a host of conflicts on the US. "Look: In Afghanistan, problems. Iraq is falling apart, Libya is falling apart. In Africa, there are problems in many countries. They touched Ukraine, and there are problems." Despite all this, "we have not closed the door to negotiations, to resolve this situation," Putin said. His focus? "To encourage all sides in the conflict in Ukraine to an immediate end to hostilities and negotiate." Russian markets fell 2.5% following news of the sanctions, while the energy companies hit, Rosneft and OA Novatek, fell 5.4% and 6.8% respectively, the BBC notes.