Russia promises no retaliation against the U.S.

UKRAINE - President Vladimir Putin says there is no need for Russia to further retaliate against U.S. sanctions.

Putin spoke after President Barack Obama ordered a second round of sanctions targeting about two dozen members of Putin's inner circle and a major bank supporting them. Moscow made its first retaliatory shot by banning nine U.S. officials and lawmakers from entering Russia.

Putin said in televised remarks at Friday's session of the presidential Security Council that he sees no immediate need for further Russian retaliation and said sardonically that he would open an account in the Russian bank targeted by the latest U.S. sanctions.

The upper house of the Russian parliament has approved Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

The Federation Council voted unanimously to incorporate Crimea after Sunday's hastily called Crimean referendum, in which residents of the Black Sea peninsula overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote, held two weeks after Russian troops had taken over Crimea.

The move, already approved by the lower house, is set to be completed later Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin's signature.

The U.S. and the European Union have responded by slapping sanctions on Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama ordered a second round of sanctions Thursday targeting members of Putin's inner circle and a major bank supporting them.

International agencies downgraded Russia's outlook, and Russian stock plummeted Friday.

Ukraine's prime minister has pulled his nation closer into Europe's orbit by signing a political association agreement with the EU at a summit of the bloc's leaders.

Friday's agreement between Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the EU leaders was part of the pact that former President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of last November in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia. That decision sparked the protests that ultimately led to his downfall and flight last month, setting off one of Europe's worst political crises since the Cold War.

Russian forces took control of Crimea two weeks ago in the wake of Yanukovych's ouster and President Vladimir Putin this week annexed the strategically important Black Sea peninsula.

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