Question: You already commented on the sanctions at the Security Council meeting today, but nonetheless, the list includes some names that are difficult to explain, such as Mr Timchenko, Mr Rotenberg and Mr Kovalchuk, for example. Are they being targeted because they are considered to be your friends, or because they are somehow connected to the events in Crimea?
Vladimir Putin: Well, to be honest, they are those very same ‘polite people’ – the ones in camouflage gear, with semi-automatic rifles strapped to their waists. And their last names are a bit odd too. The names you just mentioned, for example: Kovalchuk, Rotenberg, Timchenko – all typical “moskal” [Ukrainian nickname for Russians] names. I think I’d be wise to keep my distance from them.
The sanctions target a bank too. Given that this bank definitely has no connection to the events in Crimea, and it has clients, we will certainly have to give it our protection and do everything we can to make sure that there are no negative consequences for the bank itself or for its clients.
As you know, I already said that I will open a personal account in this bank, and I have already instructed the Presidential Administrative Directorate to transfer my pay into this account. I have also sent a request to the Central Bank, not about my pay, but about supporting this bank, all the more so as it bears the highly resonant and symbolic name of Rossiya [Russia].