MOSCOW (TheBlaze/AP) — Vladimir Putin says Russian doesn't want to fight anyone but is warning against what he sees as foreign attempts to impede the country's development.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state award ceremony honoring participants of the Olympic and Paralympics Games in Sochi in the Kremlin, March 24, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. Putin awarded Russian citizens and also citizens of other countries for the successful preparations of the games. Among the guests at the award ceremony were coaches, athletes, the chiefs of sports federations, journalists, officials, and constructors. Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
The Russian president's remarks on Saturday to a trade union congress in the resort city of Sochi came as officials from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany tried to develop a new initiative for ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukraine crisis, which Moscow contends was sparked by Western manipulation, has brought punishing economic sanctions against Russia.
Putin said, "We don't intend to war with anyone. We intend to cooperate with all."
But he complained of "attempts to hold back our development by various means."
Vice President Joe Biden criticized those attempts in Munich Saturday, emphasizing America's support for Ukraine.
"We need to remain resolute in our support for #Ukraine. It matters not just in Europe, but around the world." -VP Biden in Munich— Vice President Biden (@VP) February 7, 2015
Biden also seemed to question Russia's true intent, noting its most recent invasion of Ukraine that prompted concerns of renewed Cold War-era tactics among the U.S. and European nations.
"Given Russia's recent history, we need to judge Moscow by its deeds, not its words. Don't tell us. Show us." -VP Biden— Vice President Biden (@VP) February 7, 2015
The U.S. imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukrainian territory, nearly shattering Putin's economy. Biden said the U.S. will continue to punish Russia until it decides to honor Ukraine's territorial sovereignty.
"President Putin has to make a simple, stark choice: Get out of Ukraine or face increasing isolation and economic costs at home." -VP Biden— Vice President Biden (@VP) February 7, 2015
Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter