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article imagePutin on Obama: Who is he to judge?

By Karen Graham     May 24, 2014 in Politics
Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a laughing crowd that if President Barack Obama wanted to judge him, he should get a job as a courtroom lawyer.
Vladimir Putin gave the keynote address at the St. Petersburg economic conference hosted by CNBC on Friday, and had choice words regarding the American president, denying that Russia is responsible for the unrest in Ukraine.
Mr. Putin also denied that Russia is trying to create unrest prior to the coming nationwide elections on Sunday, saying again, the claims by the U.S. weren't valid. The crowd was obviously enjoying Putin's words, a sure sign the Russian leaders popularity has increased as the Ukraine crisis has grown.
"Who is he to judge? Who is he to judge, seriously?" the Russian president said, according to an interpreter. “If he wants to judge people, why doesn’t he get a job in court somewhere?”
“It’s his point of view. And I have my point of view when it comes to certain things,” Mr. Putin remarked.
Moscow has denied any responsibility in the takeover of government buildings or the violence in eastern Ukraine. Mr. Putin has also said he supported the Ukraine elections on Sunday and would respect the results of the votes.
Mr. Putin had said earlier that Russian troops were being withdrawn from the Ukrainian border, but the White House and international organizations are saying there has been no proof this has been done. Earlier this week, Vice-President Joseph R. Biden said there would be more sanctions if Russia interferes with the Ukraine elections.
The Russian president assured the crowd that Russia does not desire isolation, and that there seems to be a "disconnect" between himself and the American president. Putin said the effort to improve relations between Russia and the U.S. started by his predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev in 2009, failed, and it was entirely the fault if the United States.
Russia and the U.S. have been in a stand-off ever since Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula in February. The peninsula had been under the control of Ukraine up until that time. In March, with the help of Russian separatist forces, Crimea broke off from the Ukraine and joined Russia.
Since that time, Russian-backed separatists have invaded other areas in eastern Ukraine, taken over government buildings, kidnapped journalists and engaged in deadly assaults on Ukraine security forces. Russia made an agreement with the E.U. and the U.S. in mid-April that Moscow would use its influence to get the pro-Russian forces to leave Ukraine, but nothing has happened.
Putin claimed on Friday that the U.S. needs to take responsibility for the instability in Ukraine, saying, "now, they want us to clean up the mess they created." President Putin joked that "you can’t force people to like you," but he expressed the hope that "common sense, good sense and national interest " will prevail and the U.S. and E.U. countries that have placed sanctions on Russia will continue working with his country.
More about Vladimir putin, Obama, get a new job, who is he to judge, Economic sanctions
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