The Latest: Putin: Russia doesn't want return to Cold War

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The Latest from the Russian Economic Forum in St. Petersburg (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia doesn't need a new Cold War and that the country's policy is "aimed at cooperation and search for compromise."

Speaking at Russia's major economic forum Friday, he criticized the West for ignoring Russia's legitimate interests. He said there is no reason for NATO's continued expansion, and noted that the U.S.-led NATO missile defense plans pose a threat to Russia.

He said the missile defense program is continuing despite the disappearance of the Iranian nuclear threat, which had been named as the main reason for that.

Putin added that the Western policy of unilateral actions will undermine global stability. He called for searching for a balance of interests to strengthen international security.

Putin repeated his accusations that the West had been backing a forceful ouster of Ukraine's former Moscow-friendly president. He insisted that Russia's annexation of Crimea was rooted in what he described as a coup in Ukraine.


3:00 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on European leaders to improve ties with his country despite sanctions.

Speaking at Russia's top economic conference Putin said Friday the European Union should "show flexibility" and consider the interests of EU investors who want to do business with Russia.

Western leaders and company executives went to Russia's St. Petersburg Economic Forum this year after a two-year break that felt more like a boycott.

Putin had a meeting with the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday and other international executives, telling them that Russia is open to Western investment despite the strained ties with the West.

The U.S. and the EU slapped Russia with economic sanctions in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and threw its backing to separatists in eastern Ukraine.