The Russian President insisted that sanctions against Russia have had “zero effect” and said his country will be forced to respond to the development of US anti-missile systems in Alaska and South Korea.

Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his country will be forced to respond to US anti-missile systems being built in Alaska and South Korea.

“They (the US) have elements of their ABM system in Alaska and now in South Korea,” Putin said on the sidelines of an economic forum in St. Petersburg, adding that Russia cannot “just watch helplessly” as the US increases its military capabilities in the region.

“We are still contemplating our response to this challenge,” Putin said.

Earlier in the day, Putin said that “Russo-phobia” in the West would “not last for too long, not forever, if only because the understanding has to come that it is counterproductive and harms everyone.”

Putin insisted that measures against Moscow, including economic sanctions, had ended up having “zero effect”.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was taking steps towards returning two Russian compounds in New York City and Maryland, which were shut down by the Obama administration as punishment for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 election.