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Putin calls U.S. tariffs on Canada ‘sanctions’

WATCH: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the tariffs imposed on Canada by the U.S. on Canadian steel and aluminum were "sanctions" and that they need to sit at a negotiation table to work out a solution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in an annual phone-in on Thursday, answering to a variety of questions. Here are some highlights.

ON U.S. TRADE THREAT, STEEL TARIFFS

“The introduction, for example, of restrictive tariffs on steel, on aluminum, not only for Europe but also for Canada and Mexico, in essence these are also sanctions… They are related to the pragmatic national interests of the United States.”

READ MORE: Trudeau calls tariffs ‘insulting’ while Trump aide labels it as ‘family quarrel’

“When in 2007 I spoke in Munich…I spoke about the fact that the United States is widening the jurisdiction of its laws beyond its national borders, and that this is unacceptable. And that’s exactly what’s happening now, also to our European and other partners. Why is this happening? No one wanted to listen and no one did anything to stop this from developing.”

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“It appears, our partners thought that this would never affect them, this counterproductive politics of restrictions and sanctions. But now we are seeing that this is happening.”

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WATCH: Trudeau on tariffs: ‘In what universe is Canada…somehow become a national security threat’ to U.S.

Trudeau on tariffs: ‘In what universe is Canada…somehow become a national security threat’ to U.S.
Trudeau on tariffs: ‘In what universe is Canada…somehow become a national security threat’ to U.S.

ON PROSPECT OF A THIRD WORLD WAR

“The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilisation should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the international arena that are highly dangerous for modern civilisation.”

READ MORE: Drama surrounding Donald Trump holding back U.S.-Russia relations, Putin says

“The threat of mutual destruction has always restrained participants of the international arena, prevented leading military powers from making hasty moves, and compelled participants to respect each other. U.S. withdrawal from treaties on anti-ballistic missiles is an attempt to put an end to strategic parity, but we will respond to this.”

ON POSSIBILITY OF MILITARY FLARE-UP IN EASTERN UKRAINE

“I hope that things will not come to provocations (during the soccer World Cup). If this happens I think it would have very serious consequences for the Ukrainian government in general.”

ON SYRIA

“Firstly, the use of our armed forces in the battlefield is a unique experience, a unique tool by which to improve our armed forces. No amount of military exercise could compare with the use of force in combat conditions.”

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“Major military operations, particularly involving Russian armed forces, have ended. There isn’t even a need for them anymore.”

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin foresees ‘global chaos’ if U.S.-led coalition attacks Syria again

“Our soldiers are there (in Syria) in order to secure Russia’s interests in this critically important part of the world, which is so near to us. And they will stay there, for as long as it is in Russia’s interest for them to do so.”

“As yet we do not plan to withdraw these forces. But I direct your attention to the fact that I did not call these bases by any other name – I called them bases. We are not building long-term military structures there and if we need to, we could withdraw our military personnel very quickly, without incurring any financial losses.”

WATCH: Seven years of the Syrian crisis

Seven years of the Syrian crisis
Seven years of the Syrian crisis

ON HOSTING THE SOCCER WORLD CUP

“With regards to the infrastructure, these 11 stadiums. Of course, we spent a lot of money on this and it is imperative that all of this infrastructure, I completely agree, it must work and above all work towards the development of sport on a large scale.”

READ MORE: Going to the 2018 FIFA World Cup? Make sure your vaccinations are up to date

“I would like right now to address my colleagues in the regions, to ask them to not allow, under any circumstances, for flea markets and the like to appear at these stadiums, as appeared in other sport-related buildings in Moscow during the middle of the 1990s.”

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“I think our Russian Football Union must play an active part in this… and develop a new generation of sportsmen and soccer players.”

ON WESTERN SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

“This is a method by which to restrain Russia, the notorious sanctions, because endless accusations lay the groundwork for introducing restraining measures.”

“It is because Russia is seen as a threat, because Russia is seen as becoming a competitor. I believe this approach is mistaken.”

“It is clear to us that we have to defend our interests, and to do so consistently, not boorishly or rudely, in both the sphere of the economy and of defense.”

WATCH: G7 leaders meet to discuss climate change, Russia sanctions

ON ALLEGED MEDDLING IN 2016 U.S. ELECTION

“Recently one of Germany’s famous and popular publications wrote that President Trump is pushing Europe towards Putin. If we take this together with an earlier joke, that Russia influenced elections in the United States, then this all taken together starts sounding pretty funny. We apparently influenced the election of the U.S. President, and then he gifted us Europe. Total nonsense. There’s no way to describe this other than as a joke.”

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