Russia retaliates on West's sanctions over Ukraine
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia retaliated Thursday for sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine by banning most food imports from the West, dealing a blow to Europe that also takes aim at hurting the U.S., Canada and Australia.
In choosing to make an economic move, President Vladimir Putin signaled he isn't ready at this point to send troops into Ukraine. He also showed he's willing to inflict significant pain on his own people to make a point.
The U.S. and the European Union have accused Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March, of supplying arms and ex- pertise to a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, and have responded by slapping sanctions on Russian individuals and companies. Tensions rose further last month when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over rebel-held territory, killing all 298 people aboard, and the West accused Russia of most likely providing the militants with the missiles that may have been used to bring the plane down.
Moscow denies supporting the rebels and accuses the West of blocking attempts at a political settlement by encouraging Kiev to use its military to crush the insurgency.