Putin says Russia will emerge stronger and sanctions will hit the West

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that sanctions against Russia will backfire on the West, including in the form of rising food and energy prices, and that Moscow will solve its problems and appear stronger.

Putin said there was no alternative to what Russia calls its own military operation in Ukraine and that Russia is not a country that can accept compromising its sovereignty for some kind of short-term economic gain.

“These sanctions would have been imposed in any case,” Putin said at a meeting of the Russian government. “There are some questions, problems and difficulties, but we overcame them in the past and we will overcome them now.

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“In the end, all of this will lead to an increase in our independence, self-sufficiency and sovereignty,” he told a televised government meeting two weeks after Russian forces invaded neighboring Ukraine.

His comments are designed to portray Western sanctions as self-defeating and to reassure Russians that the country can withstand what Moscow calls an “economic war” against its banks, companies and oligarchs.

Putin said Moscow – a major energy producer that supplies a third of Europe’s gas – would continue to fulfill its contractual obligations despite being under sweeping criticism, including a ban on US purchases of its oil.

“They announced that they have closed the import of Russian oil to the American market. Prices are high there, inflation is unprecedentedly high, it has reached historical levels. They are trying to blame the results of their mistakes,” he said. “We have absolutely nothing to do with it.”

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In response to the West, the Russian government earlier said it had banned exports of communications, medical, automobile, agricultural, electrical and technical equipment, among other things, until the end of 2022.

In total, more than 200 items were included in the export suspension list, which also covered railway wagons, containers, turbines and other goods.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the government via video link in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Klementev/Kremlin via Reuters

We will solve these problems.

Putin spoke calmly, acknowledging that the sanctions imposed since the February 24 invasion were being felt.

“It is clear that at such moments people’s demand for certain groups of goods is constantly increasing, but we have no doubt that we will solve all these problems while working in a calm manner,” he said.

“Gradually, people will orient themselves, and they will understand that there are simply no events that we cannot close and resolve.”

Noting that Russia is a major producer of agricultural fertilizers, Putin said there would be inevitable “negative consequences” for global food markets if the West caused problems for Russia.

The Minister of Agriculture stated at the meeting that the country’s food security was guaranteed.

Speaking at the same meeting, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that Russia had taken measures to limit the outflow of capital and that the country would serve its foreign debt in rubles, not dollars.

“In the past two weeks, Western countries have launched an economic and financial war against Russia,” he said.

Siluanov said the West had failed to meet its commitments to Russia by freezing its gold and foreign exchange reserves. He said she was trying to stop foreign trade.

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“In these circumstances, our priority is to stabilize the financial system,” Siluanov said.

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(Reporting by Reuters) Writing by Mark Trevelyan Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Heinrich

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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