Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses members of Crimea's parliament during the meeting in Mria sanatorium, Crimea August 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia should not "fence itself off from the outside world" despite a plunge in East-West relations over the pro-Kremlin insurgency in Ukraine.The comments saw the Russian ruble shoot up to a nine-day high against the dollar because investors interpreted them as a signal by Putin that he preferred not to escalate the deadly Ukrainian crisis much further.The diplomatic tensions and European security fears were compounded last week when Putin banned the import of most meat and dairy products from the United States and EU nations with sanctions against Russia for its approach to Ukraine.Russian news agencies quoted Putin as telling senior lawmakers and ministers in the Crimean city of Yalta that he was forced to announce the food ban to protect Russia's national interest.Putin dismissed Ukraine's protests and said Crimea should become a symbol of a powerful and unified new Russian state.
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