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Apr 19, 5:20 AM EDT

Putin: no blocks to boosting relations with West

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he sees no obstacles to improving relations with the West, which are fraught with tension over the Ukraine crisis.

In an interview on state television shown Saturday, Putin was asked whether relations with the West would improve by the end of the year.

"This doesn't depend on us, or not only on us. It depends on our partners," Putin said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

"I consider that there is nothing that would impede normalization and normal cooperation," he said.

The United States and the European Union have accused Russia of encouraging recent unrest in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia insurgents are occupying government buildings and police stations.

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