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Putin denies using Russian energy as foreign policy instrument

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied using the country's energy resources as a foreign policy instrument. Putin said Russia will not protect intellectual property rights by going after people who buy pirated software.

He said Russia can't be expected to subsidize the economies of other states through cheap fuel sales. Russia has been forced to accept the idea it's using economic levers to achieve its foreign policy aims, Putin said today in Moscow. This „isn't so.” Russia, the world's largest producer and exporter of natural gas, raised prices for Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and other former Soviet states, leading some western politicians to accuse Putin of using gas as a political weapon. „We aren't obliged to subsidize other countries' economies to such a vast extent,” he said. Putin was speaking at an annual press conference in the Kremlin, addressing more than 1,200 Russian and foreign journalists.

„As with the battle with drugs, we don't need to battle with the users, but with those who make and distribute pirated goods,” Putin said during his press conference. „Our policies are aimed at protecting intellectual property rights.” Counterfeiting and piracy costs the global economy at least $100 billion a year, the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization said January 30. Russia, China and India are the worst-rated countries for addressing the issue of piracy, according to a survey by the International Chamber of Commerce. The US accused Russia of having a lax attitude to counterfeiting and has said it is one the main stumbling blocks to joining World Trade Organization. (Bloomberg)