Russian President Vladimir Putin told regional bloc leaders that deeper trade relations could stimulate economic growth. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI May 15 (UPI) — With its oil and gas sector under pressure from sanctions, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of its national legislature, said legislation could easily protect national interests. “We are granting far-reaching powers to our president and the Russian government, so that our country, our economy and our jobs are protected,” Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying. U.S. and European sanctions against Russia reach deep into the country’s energy sector. Sanctions imposed by Washington in response to Russian activity in Ukraine targeted Igor Sechin , the head of top Russian oil producer Rosneft. More than 60 percent of total Russian exports are oil and natural gas, which combine for about 30 percent of the gross domestic […]