Western ‘economic blitzkrieg’ has failed – Putin
Western nations have failed in their attempts to destabilize the Russian economy with sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a government meeting on economic issues on Monday.
“The situation is stabilizing, the ruble exchange rate has returned to the levels of the first half of February and is supported by a strong balance of payments… Foreign cash is returning to the country’s banking system, and the volume of deposits by citizens is growing. As for the consumer market, after a short rush to buy a number of goods… retail demand has returned to normal. Commodity stocks in retail chains are recovering,” Putin said.
Overall, he noted that sanctions have failed to break the country’s economy.
“The goal [of sanctions] was to quickly undermine the financial and economic situation in our country, provoke a panic in the markets, trigger a collapse of the banking system and a large-scale shortage of goods in stores. But this policy has failed – the economic blitzkrieg has run aground,” the Russian president stated.
Meanwhile, according to Putin, the sanctions have backfired on the countries that introduced them, namely the US and the EU, leading to a spike in inflation and unemployment in these countries, a worsening of the standard of living of its citizens, and devaluation of their savings.
Putin acknowledged that Russians have also felt the impact of the sanctions on their family budgets, as prices in the country over the past month and a half have jumped by 9.4%, and annual inflation surged to 17.5% as of April 8. The president noted, however, that prices are now showing signs of stabilizing, and he vowed to introduce further measures to help the population.
“We need to support our citizens, help them cope with the inflationary wave. In this regard, let me remind you that we made a decision to raise all social payments, pensions and salaries of residents employed in the public sector,” he said.
According to Putin, restrictions placed on the country have negatively affected businesses, complicating the logistics of export and import deliveries and creating obstacles for making payments. The president noted that in order to improve the situation, Russia needs to speed up the transition to national currencies in foreign trade settlements.
“It is necessary to provide maximum assistance to entrepreneurs in solving these problems, including speeding up the transition of foreign trade to settlements in rubles and in the national currencies of countries that are reliable business partners,” he said.
According to the president, the key task for the government at the moment is the long-term stability of the financial system at both the federal and regional levels.
Russia has faced unprecedented sanctions from the US and its allies in retaliation to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. In less than two months, Russia has become the most sanctioned country in the world. Moscow says it is now subject to more than 6,000 different targeted restrictions. That is more than Iran, Venezuela, Myanmar, and Cuba combined.
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