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Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a video conference meeting on the COVID-19 cornavirus situation in Russia, at Novo-Ogaryovo residence. Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

No new sanctions can possibly deter Russia from doing what it wants, because Moscow has experience dealing with them for many years already, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, on Friday, the Russian leader claimed Moscow cannot possibly avoid Western sanctions, because they are not aimed at altering the Kremlin’s behavior. In his view, they are actually a plan to hinder the economic development of Russia.

“Sanctions will be imposed in any case. Whether they have a reason today, for example, in connection with the events in Ukraine, or there is no reason, it will be found,” Putin said. “The goal is different. In this case, the goal is to slow down the development of Russia and Belarus.”

The Russian president also stated that Moscow believes these sanctions to be illegitimate, calling them an unfair competition tool of the US and its allies.

“This is a gross violation of international law,” he said, also accusing the US of a selective approach to international norms.

“They care about it only when it is advantageous to them. They always interpret everything only in their own favor and neglect the interests of other [countries],” he claimed, stating that the only way for Moscow and Minsk to mitigate the effect of sanctions is to develop economic cooperation and import substitution.

The US and its European allies imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 following the events in Ukraine, when violent street protests toppled the democratically elected government in Kiev. In particular, economic measures were slapped on Moscow after Crimea was reabsorbed into Russia following a referendum. The vote took place a month after the events of the Maidan. Ukraine, as well as most of the world, considers the referendum illegitimate and views the peninsula as illegally occupied.