MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin on Friday slammed G20 member countries for imposing sanctions on Russia, saying this violated the group’s principles, but said he did not plan to raise the issue at the summit in Australia.

Putin told the TASS state news agency in an interview published Friday, ahead of this weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane, that sanctions against Russia violated the G20’s principles and were “harmful”.

“The fact that certain countries of the G20 are imposing sanctions on Russia through the G20, of course, this contradicts the very principle of the G20’s activity.... This also contradicts international law because sanctions can only be imposed through the United Nations and its Security Council,” Putin said.

But he said he would not raise the topic of sanctions at the G20. “Why should I draw attention to this, ask for something? It’s pointless.”

Putin said he would hold bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summit, where he was expected to face tough questioning from leaders on the escalating crisis in Ukraine. “We have meetings planned there. With the German chancellor. Lots of different meetings,” Putin said.

Asked whether his relations with Merkel had become frostier lately, Putin said he had not noticed any difference. “I haven’t noticed this. You know, we act on the basis of our interests, not personal liking or dislike,” Putin said. “And she (Merkel) has always acted on the basis of these interests, too.”

Merkel said on Friday that the conflict in Ukraine was likely to be the focus of talks on the summit’s margins even though it is not on the official agenda.

German government sources told AFP that Berlin saw a lack of progress on Ukraine and that was the message that would be communicated to Putin at the G20. The German chancellor this week ruled out imposing new economic sanctions on Russia but said the EU was considering adding pro-Russian separatists to existing sanctions lists imposed on Moscow.

Putin is also set to hold meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande. Cameron on Friday accused Russia of “bullying” Ukraine and said its actions regarding its ex-Soviet neighbour were “unacceptable” in a speech to the Australian parliament. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who will host the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, for his part accused Putin of trying to relive “the lost glories of tsarism”.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama will pledge $3 billion to a UN fund aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in the world’s poorest countries, a US official said Friday. “It is in our national interest to helping vulnerable countries to build resilience to climate change,” the administration official said as Obama headed to a G20 summit in Australia.

Obama was en route to Brisbane after visiting Myanmar and China, where on Wednesday he and President Xi Jinping announced ambitious targets on greenhouse gas emissions as part of a pact designed to breathe new life into attempts to replace the international Kyoto treaty. Obama was expected to outline his pledge in a speech on Saturday in Brisbane on the sidelines of the G20 talks, as backers and donors involved in the UN’s “Green Climate Fund” (GCF) prepare to meet in Berlin on November 20.