May 26, 2015 - 16:37 AMT
Putin encourages businesses to expand unless sanctions lifted

Russian President Vladimir Putin has encouraged businesses to expand domestically before Western nations lift economic sanctions, allowing once again the sale of many foreign goods in Russia, the Associated Press reports.

Russia's economy is expected to contract 3.8 percent this year in the World Bank's estimates, battered by the sanctions and capital outflows.

Speaking at a business forum Tuesday, May 26, Putin called on businesses to expand until the sanctions are lifted. Putin mentioned that some Western nations "are beginning to see the light" but he didn't say what his hopes were based on.

The main EU sanctions, which have hit Russian banks and oil companies and have banned arms exports and the export of dual-use goods, are in place through July. Russia has responded by banning some Western goods, like agricultural imports from the EU.