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Putin Says Western Sanctions Violate WTO Principles

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Western nations of violating the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by imposing sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.

Putin told a government meeting on September 18 that the sanctions "were nothing but a rejection by some of our partners of basic WTO principles," including the principle of free and fair competition.

He said that in taking responsive measures, Russia was not seeking to punish the West, but to protect its own interests.

The United States and the European Union accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine with troops and weapons, and have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia.

Russia denies any direct involvement, and retaliated by banning imports of most Western food supplies and some consumer goods.

Russia joined the WTO in 2012 after years of negotiations.

Based on reporting by Interfax, Reuters, and AFP