Putin Pledges to Keep Salary in Bank Rossiya Despite US Sanctions over Crimea Referendum
Putin Pledges to Keep Salary in Bank Rossiya Despite US Sanctions over Crimea ReferendumReuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at Western powers by claiming he'll protect Bank Rossiya and keep his salary in group despite the slew of strict US sanctions over his inner circle and his country.

In a statement, Putin vowed to also protect the bank's customers and slammed the sanctions as "having nothing to do with the events in Crimea."

Sanctions against 20 Russian officials and "cronies who held significant resources" have targeted President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and a bank as the US turns up the heat in protest at Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea.

Among those targeted are billionaire allies, friends, Kremlin ideologues and close confidants of Putin since 1993. The list includes Putin's chief of staff Sergey Ivanov, banker Yuri Kovalchuk and lifetime friends.

Russia then published a list of 10 US officials and politicians it has banned in response to US sanctions.

The list, issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, includes House of Representatives speaker John Boehner, senator John McCain and senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Daniel Pfeiffer.