"Economic blitzkrieg": Putin calls sanctions against Russia "insane"

Almost four months after the start of the war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Western sanctions to have failed and predicted a change in the world order. “From the start, the economic blitzkrieg had no chance of success,” Putin said on Friday at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. At the same time, the head of the Kremlin made it clear: “We have nothing against Ukraine joining the EU.” Earlier, the EU Commission had spoken out in favor of formally nominating Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for accession to the European Union.

Putin described the sanctions as “insane” and “thoughtless” and said that they hit the EU at least as hard as Russia itself. He estimated the damage to the EU at more than 400 billion dollars. They entail “tectonic and revolutionary” changes.

Putin: Western sanctions have failed

Russia, on the other hand, took the hits, he said. It was thus possible to stabilize the financial sector and curb inflation again after an initial shock. The gloomy economic forecasts for Russia have not been confirmed. He cited the strength of the ruble as evidence of the supposed failure of Western sanctions. The Russian national currency had fallen significantly shortly after the start of the war, but has now been strengthening for months, which is mainly due to the fact that Russia can hardly import western goods and therefore needs less foreign currency.

Nevertheless, given the high oil prices and the current budget surplus that Russia is generating as a result, Putin felt confirmed in his confrontational course. Western supremacy will not last forever, he said. “We are strong people and we can cope with any challenge,” said the Kremlin boss to the applause of the audience.

Putin’s appearance itself, which had to be postponed by an hour and a half due to a hacker attack, proved to be a challenge. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained the delay by attacking the Economic Forum’s admission system. When Putin finally started his speech, there were still a few empty seats. The appearance of the Russian President is traditionally considered the highlight of the forum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Ukraine war: According to Putin, Russia will achieve all goals

According to official information, visitors from 115 countries attended the anniversary edition, including reportedly France, Italy, Canada and the USA. At peak times there were 19,000 guests from 145 countries. A number of participants was not mentioned this time. In order to avoid sanctions, entrepreneurs could participate anonymously. On the other hand, representatives of the terrorist Taliban in Afghanistan and the separatist leaders from the People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, which Russia recognizes, presented themselves very openly at the forum.

Regarding the war against Ukraine, Putin once again assured that Moscow will achieve all its goals. However, the choice of words “military special operation in the Donbass” indicates that the Russian leadership has moved away from at least some of these goals, since the war originally began with an attack on the capital Kyiv itself.

Putin denied that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine had anything to do with the international food crisis. According to the Russian President, Ukrainian grain supplies are insignificant for the world market. In addition, Russia does not hinder these deliveries, it is Ukraine itself that has mined the ports. Should Kyiv clear the mines, Moscow will guarantee the security of the supplies, said the 69-year-old.

Global food crisis from grain blockade

Since the beginning of the war in late February, Ukraine, which is the world’s fourth largest grain exporter, has been stuck on its own stocks. The West blames Moscow for the looming food crisis in large parts of the world because Russian forces have either occupied or are blockading Ukrainian ports.

Instead, Putin blamed Europe and the United States for the turbulence on world markets. The Kremlin chief claimed that they had been hoarding food for some time and imported more than they exported. As a result of this and the sanctions imposed on Russia – especially the embargo on fertilizers – the crisis on the markets has worsened. Blaming Russia is twisting the facts.

The conflict with the West will continue, that is the price for the sovereignty that Russia is fighting for. At the same time, Putin saw his country as well prepared for this: “Russia is entering the new era as a powerful and sovereign country and is only getting stronger,” he concluded his speech.

All news about the Ukraine war in our newsticker: Scholz wants EU accession status for Ukraine and Moldova – the EU Commission should make a recommendation.

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