Prime Minister – Al-Manar TV Lebanon
Western nations wanted to destroy Russia’s economy with sanctions, some of which amount to nothing less than outright piracy, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin warned on Thursday as he delivered his annual government performance report. in Parliament.
“Hostile nations have found no better way than to revert to typical pirate practice, if we call a spade a spade. By freezing our assets, they have de facto robbed the country,” the prime minister said.
Mishustin was referring to the decision to freeze Russia’s foreign exchange reserves denominated in dollars and euros, which stood at around $300 billion.
According to White House statements, the United States is trying to force Russia to default on its sovereign debt, after banning Moscow earlier this week from using funds under American jurisdiction to make payments on its loans. Officials said the Kremlin will now have to “choose between draining its available funds to repay debt or defaulting.”
Russia reportedly paid interest on its ruble debt this week. It also announced that it would require buyers of its natural gas to make payments to a Russian bank, which would then exchange the money for rubles.
Moscow said the program was designed to protect its profits from freezing. Some Western countries buying Russian fuel have said they will not pay in rubles because current contracts do not require them to do so.
During his report to lawmakers, Mishustin acknowledged that the economic pressure against the country had had a serious effect. “The current situation can be unreservedly called the most difficult of the three decades of [modern] Russian history,” he said.
However, the Prime Minister insisted that his government could deal with the problems posed by Western moves. “Those who try to isolate us and cut us off from the global economy will fail,” he said. “Our nation is integrated into global processes.”
He called on opposition factions in parliament to rally behind the government and help lead the nation through the crisis. This is necessary to protect the interests of the Russian people, he said.
“Whatever differences we may have over the development of the country and various aspects of its life, I am certain that we are united on the objectives of defending our citizens and national security,” he said. .
The United States and its allies have targeted Russia with an unprecedented number of economic sanctions in retaliation for Moscow’s military attack on Ukraine in late February. Mishustin said Western nations launched the assault “to sow panic and hurt everyone” in Russia.
“The architects of the strategy expected this storm of sanctions to destroy our economy within days. This scenario did not materialize,” the prime minister said.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014 and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Minsk Protocol negotiated by Germany and France was designed to regularize the status of regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two regions by force.