Vladimir Putin has condemned the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its allies, insisting that the invasion of Ukraine that sparked them has strengthened Russia’s sovereignty and that Russia had lost nothing as a result of the conflict.
Addressing the Eastern Economic Forum in the city of Vladivostok, the Russian president said that the punishment imposed by Western countries on Russia was part of an “epidemic” that posed a “threat to the whole world.”
“The sanctions fever of the West, its aggressive attempts to impose a model of behavior on other countries, deprive them of their sovereignty and subordinate them to their will,” he told the plenary session.
“This is a policy that has been pursued by the collective West for decades,” Putin said, adding that “the catalyst” for it was “the dominance of the United States of America in the global economy and politics.”
He made no mention of the fact that the sanctions were imposed as a result of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Following the imposition of the sanctions, which are designed to isolate Russia economically, Moscow has restricted natural gas supplies to Europe. This has pushed governments on the continent to scramble to find new supplies and ease the impact on households and businesses.
The Russian leader made the accusation that the West had “undermined the key pillars of the world economic system built over the centuries.”
He also said that there was a loss of confidence in the dollar, euro and sterling “as currencies in which we can make settlements, keep reserves, and nominate assets.”
After he spoke, Putin was asked by the moderator what Russia had lost and gained in the war in the Ukraine. Putin replied: “We haven’t lost anything and we won’t lose anything. The main gain is the strengthening of our sovereignty.”
During the 37-minute speech at the forum titled “On the Path to a Multipolar World,” Putin reiterated his theme over the last few months of a pivot away from a Western-led world order comprised of countries that have been most strident in condemning his invasion of Ukraine.
He said that “tectonic changes have taken place in the entire system of international relations,” and that other countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, “have become new centers of economic and technological growth, points of attraction for personnel, capital, production .”
He told the forum attended by leaders from countries including India, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as top Kremlin figures, that Western countries are trying “to maintain the old world order that is beneficial only to them.”
Putin compared rising inflation in the US with that in Russia which was “on the decline.”
He also said that a grain deal, brokered by Turkey, which allowed the shipment of food from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports after a months-long blockade, had “deceived” developing countries and that only two of 87 ships had gone to poor countries.
“Almost all the grain exported from Ukraine is sent not to the poorest developing countries, but to European Union countries,” he said.