Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken about the irony concerning the Western sanctions with respect to a number of Russian individuals following the events in Crimea.
"It was exactly they - polite people in military fatigues and masks with automatic rifles. And their surnames are a bit strange: Kovalchuk, Rotenberg, Timchenko - typical Muscovites. I think I should steer clear of them," Putin told reporters on Friday.
Asked whether it was true that the people on the list had anything to do with the events in Crimea, Putin said with a smile: "Honestly, yes, they did."
Earlier today the president attended a session of the Russian Security Council to hear a report by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the U.S. sanctions imposed against Russia. Again, Putin was laughing off the announced sanctions against certain Russian officials, some of whom attended the session, including State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin. "One should stay away from them, they are compromising us," he said with a smile.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will open an account with the Rossiya (Russia) bank, which has been put on the sanctions list amid the Crimean events.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he had signed a document allowing sanctions to be imposed on Russia's key economic sectors.