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Putin: Internal Problems, Not Sanctions, Hurt Russian Economy

President Vladimir Putin blamed Russia's continued recession on internal problems and not the sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union. In his annual formal speech at the Kremlin, he said poor competitiveness and the business climate led to Russia's expected contraction in economic growth this year. The United States and EU initiated a series of economic sanctions following Russia's 2014 illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. (AP)