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MOSCOW, April 17 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday condemned Western sanctions imposed on a group of Russians and Ukrainians, saying they were aimed at people close to him and in one case had prevented a leading businessman’s wife from paying for an operation.
He said the wife of Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, the co-owner of gas producer Novatek, had been unable to pay because of a blocked bank card.
“Of course this is simply a violation of human rights. It has nothing to do with common sense,” Putin said in a televised phone-in with people from across Russia.
He said the sanctions were aimed at attacking people close to the president.
“Probably it was an attempt to make me the main target of the sanctions. But as for these people - yes, these are my good acquaintances, my friends. They have earned their money, some of them even before we met,” he said.
Russia has no intention of isolating itself on the world stage, Putin said, adding that other nations appeared reluctant to understand Russia’s point of view.
“We are often faced with a lack of understanding of our position and sometimes even with an unwillingness to understand...(but) in general we do not intend to isolate ourselves,” he said. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Additional reporting by Polina Devitt, Andrey Kuzmin, Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Mark Trevelyan)