Putin slams Western sanctions as ‘blitzkrieg’

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, on Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.

Michael Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his hand was “forced” into Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and claimed that the “blitzkrieg” of Western economic sanctions had failed to undermine the Russian economy.

Putin said that the “stupid” sanctions, which barred Russian banks from international payment systems and drove international companies out of the country in droves, “are doomed from the start,” adding that the country remains open to work “with those who want it . . “

“The blitzkrieg economic war against Russia was doomed from the start,” Putin said on Friday, according to a translation. Blitzkrieg describes a surprise attack with crushing power; A method widely associated with Nazi Germany in World War II.

“Obviously they failed. It didn’t happen and they didn’t succeed,” he said.

Speaking at a plenary session at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin accused the West of colonial arrogance and said Moscow’s so-called “special military operation” – which plunged Ukraine into all-out war and led to thousands of deaths. – Returns to the West’s refusal to respect its commitments.

“The decision to launch our own military operation was something that we were forced to do, they imposed our hands,” he said, adding that the decision was “difficult” but that it reaffirmed the Kremlin’s commitment to achieving its military objectives.

“All the tasks that we set for ourselves and all the goals of the special military operation will be fully completed,” Putin said, to the delight of the audience.

The Russian president has long opposed what he sees as expansion of the West – and NATO, in particular – along Russia’s borders, using that as one of the justifications for the internationally condemned invasion of Ukraine.

Putin: They blame us

Putin also responded to what he described as false accusations that the war in Ukraine, and the implications for supply chains and commodity markets, were responsible for the deterioration of the global economic landscape.

Putin said he might be “happy” to suggest that Russia’s war could have spillover effects on the US economy, but insisted that was not true – a view widely refuted by economists.

“We are probably flattered to hear that we are so great and powerful that we can drive inflation sky-high in the United States,” he said. “This is simply not true.”

Meanwhile, he said, Europe’s worsening energy crisis was being driven by “failures” in the region’s energy policy, specifically its “blind” belief in renewable energies. Europe has always been a major importer of Russian hydrocarbons but has since reduced its dependence on Russia in response to the war, leading to a supply glut and an increase in commodity prices.

“This started long before our special military operation in the Donbass, and they blame us. They raised their prices very hard and they blame us,” he said.

He also said that the European Union could lose more than $400 billion due to the sanctions, which he said would rebound on those who imposed them.

His comments before an audience of SPIEF business leaders come at a time when Russia remains isolated from the West by its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

What could happen then?

Before the war, SPIEF was a prominent component of the business world calendar, with corporate and political leaders heading to Putin’s hometown for a forum at which Russia sought to boost its economy and attract investors.

However, after the Covid pandemic – and now with the war in Ukraine – the event looks very different, as many Western companies have abandoned Russia. Notably, Russia – now subject to a host of international sanctions – continues to enjoy a close relationship with China and India, strengthening its eastward axis.

Russia initially launched a full-scale invasion (or what it calls its “special military operation”) of Ukraine on February 24, saying it intended to “de-Nazi and demilitarize” the country, and made false claims about the leadership in Kyiv that were flatly rejected.

After invading from the north, east, and south, it soon became apparent that Russian forces had bitten off more than they could chew. Moscow then announced that its forces would withdraw from the capital, Kyiv, to focus on “liberating” Donbass in eastern Ukraine, an industrial zone where two of the two pro-Russian “republics” are located.

Since the shift in its strategy, Russia has bombed towns and cities in the region and has made slow but steady progress, capturing swathes of eastern and southeastern Ukraine.

Ukraine continues to demand more heavy weapons from its Western allies, although questions have begun to be asked to governments about how long such support could last.