Russian President Vladimir Putin finally spoke publicly about his war against Ukraine and the West’s sanctions against Russia. He admitted that Western sanctions have “achieved certain results” that have impacted the economy in Russia, but he did not lessen his defiance regarding Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
At a press conference, Putin called the western alliance led by the United States imposing sanctions on Russia a “blitzkrieg” that has “achieved certain results.” He noted that the Kremlin had to increase the interest rate of the central bank by 20 percent. But he said that the rate has already gone down in recent days.
Global experts on the economy have said that the Russian government is using creative technocratic skills to bring stability to the Russian economy during these unprecedented sanctions. But Russia is not likely to be able to withstand these kinds of sanctions over the long haul.
Rachel Ziemba is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. She wrote that “Russia’s seeming financial resilience, particularly when it comes to the ruble, is a kind of mirage.”
Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian Finance Minister, said according to state-owned media that Russia’s economy is on track to decrease by 10 percent in 2022. This would be the largest decline in the gross domestic product since the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991.
Putin showed his defiance at the press conference while standing alongside Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. He said that Russia would need “to allocate more resources … in the current situation” to support the economy. But standing with allies, he also boasted about working with other countries who have not joined the U.S.-led sanctions.
Putin said, “The economy will adapt to the new environment, make no mistake. If you can’t export to one country there’s always a third country. If you can buy something in one country, there is also a fourth country where you can get this, this is inevitable … a single country cannot dominate the world anymore.”
Putin gave the world a threat as well at the press conference. He focused on the global food supply and criticized the West by saying if they could not work with Russia, there simply would not be enough food on the global market.
This has been a growing concern at the United Nations and some human rights groups. They believe that Russia’s war in Ukraine along with the sanctions on Russia has interrupted global deliveries. These factors have caused the price of wheat and fertilizer to rise and it is impacting 1.2 billion people worldwide.
Putin jumped on this concern stating that the prices would continue to rise and that it is all because of mistakes made by the Western countries.
He said, “If our Western partners worsen the situation in financial terms, in terms of insurance and sea shipments, the situation will get worse, including for them. High prices on food and these problems will lead to hunger in many areas around the world and this will lead to more migration flows including towards Europe.”
Putin defiantly announced that Russia would not be isolated and that it was impossible to isolate anyone in the modern world, “especially such a vast country as Russia.”
The Russian president also staunchly defended his decision to enter into war with Ukraine. He said that the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Moscow through NATO. He also said that the war was needed to defend Russian-speaking people in Ukraine from persecution. And he said that Russia’s goals were “clear and noble,” that they did not have a choice and it was the right decision to invade. Interesting, but we’re not giving into anything that he has to say.