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Obama: 'Russia doesn't make anything'

"I think President Putin represents a deep strain in Russia that is probably harmful to Russia over the long term, but in the short term can be politically popular at home and very troublesome abroad."
By Aileen Graef   |   Aug. 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama downplayed Russia's contribution to the global economy during an interview with The Economist, saying it's important to keep the country "in perspective."

The commander and chief said that he is not disappointed in the failed reset with Russia and that its role on the world stage is not as vital as portrayed.

"But I do think it's important to keep perspective. Russia doesn't make anything. Immigrants aren't rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking. And so we have to respond with resolve in what are effectively regional challenges that Russia presents. We have to make sure that they don't escalate where suddenly nuclear weapons are back in the discussion of foreign policy. And as long as we do that, then I think history is on our side."

Russia is, however, one of the world's top oil and natural gas producers with a large amount of Europe relying on its companies for energy. The country's oil production is one of the main reason Europe has been hesitant to impart heavier sanctions on the Russian economy in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Obama recently announced another round of U.S. sanctions on Russia targeting its energy, arms and financial industries.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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Topics: Barack Obama
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