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Putin says he has ordered Russian government to formulate response to Western sanctions

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MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has ordered the government to develop measures in response to Western sanctions.

Putin, in a meeting with state officials in the city of Voronezh on Tuesday, did not specify what the measures might be but said: "I have given the order today to formulate them," Russian news agencies reported.

Russia has been hit by an array of increasingly strong sanctions by the United States and the European Union that seek to punish Russia for its annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and alleged support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Putin said the measures must be carefully designed to avoid affecting Russian consumers.

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