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Obama: Putin trying to recreate glories of Soviet empire

ELMAU, Germany — President Barack Obama says Russian President Vladimir Putin must decide whether he wants to wreck Russia’s economy in pursuit of what Obama calls a “wrongheaded desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire.”

Obama says U.S. and European leaders are in agreement about maintaining sanctions on Russia until it abides by its side of a cease-fire. But he says political leaders aren’t yet discussing additional sanctions to ramp up pressure on Putin.

Obama says the first step is for the EU to extend the current sanctions in an upcoming meeting. But he says lower-level discussions about additional sanctions have taken place.

Obama says Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is inflicting suffering on Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine — precisely the people Putin says he’s trying to protect.