Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday night that Western economies had done more damage to themselves than to Russia with sanctions levied against its financial institutions, businesses, and fossil fuel producers.
In televised remarks from a video call with several Russian economic officials, the Russian president said that the “strategy of the economic blitz has failed” and that the end result has been the “deterioration of the economy in the West.”
Putin also claimed that his country has so far withstood the “unprecedented pressure” placed on its economy, and praised the strength of the ruble – the value of which has been kept somewhat stable after intervention from the Russian Central Bank.
The Russian president suggested that the United States and European countries that have implemented sanctions against Russia have not stopped his “special military operation” in Ukraine, and have only served to worsen inflation and reduce the living standards of their own citizens.
U.S. Knew Russia Sanctions Would Hurt
The United States always knew that sanctioning Russian oil and natural gas imports would hurt.
Government officials told Reuters in February, just before the outbreak of the Ukraine invasion, that the United States was unlikely to implement sanctions owing to concerns about inflation and the knock-on effect such imports would have on European economies.
The hope at the time was that oil may continue to be imported from Russia while the United States and other NATO allies worked on increasing domestic supply to slowly reduce dependence on Russia.
“Because oil markets are global – and because the United States is an oil-producing country itself – there’s reason to think that … we’ll be able to get through this without too much damage, but certainly it is something that we continue to watch closely,” an unnamed government official told Reuters.
Whether Putin is being entirely truthful or not, his comment signals Russia’s intention to continue the military offensive in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the United States is running out of new sanctions to levy against Russia, prompting the White House to encourage India to cease discounted purchases of Russian oil and promise to help the country source its fuel from elsewhere.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.