Putin says efforts to ‘hammer’ Russian economy have failed
Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a defiant tone on Friday as he delivered a speech on the state of his country’s economy after a series of sanctions.
Mr Putin said efforts to “hammer” Russia had failed and gloomy forecasts for Russia’s economy had not materialized. He said the country’s economy would overcome the sanctions which he called “reckless and senseless”.
Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, he said sanctions are harmful to those who impose them and predicted they could cost the EU more than $400 billion.
He began his 73-minute speech with a lengthy denunciation of countries he believes want to weaken Russia.
He said the United States “declared victory in the Cold War and later came to see itself as God’s own messengers on planet Earth.”
He also attacked the West for blaming it personally for its economic problems, saying the negative trends in the global economy were not caused by what he calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
In a combative speech at Russia’s flagship annual economic forum, he said Russia was not to blame for rising prices in the global grain market, blaming the US for driving up food prices by printing money and “buying” food on world markets.
Mr Putin said Russia was ready to increase its grain and fertilizer exports and would send food exports to Africa and the Middle East.
He promised that Moscow would continue to develop as an “open economy” despite unprecedented Western sanctions imposed after sending forces to neighboring Ukraine.
Mr Putin said Russia would continue to deal with Western companies and he hoped gas flows would increase via new routes.
He added that Russia would continue to expand economic cooperation “with those who want it”.
Mr. Putin took the opportunity to be very critical of the United States, accusing it of treating other countries as “colonies”.
Amid a lengthy denunciation of the United States and its allies, Mr Putin said: “Nothing will be the same in world politics.”
He said the European Union had lost its “political sovereignty” by heading down a path that would lead to radicalism and elite change, criticizing the bloc’s economic policies to tackle high inflation and inequality.
The three most powerful European leaders traveled to Kyiv on Thursday to lend their support to Ukraine’s EU bid.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday accused Brussels of “manipulating” Ukraine after the European Commission recommended that the pro-Western country be granted candidate status to join the 27-nation bloc.
“We see how, for many years, the Western community has been manipulating the idea of some sort of involvement of Ukraine in its integration structures,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted as saying. Russian news agencies.
Ukraine, however, is “worse and worse”, she added.
The European Commission recommended on Friday that Ukraine, where Russia is carrying out a military operation, and neighboring Moldova should each be designated as “candidates” for EU membership.
Official “candidate” status for Ukraine could pave a years-long path to joining the bloc, with the decision expected to be formalized at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on June 23-24.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the decision, saying he was “grateful” to EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and “every member of the EC for a historic decision”.
Updated: June 17, 2022, 3:01 p.m.