(Saint-Petersburg) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday assured that the Russian offensive in Ukraine had no impact on global economic difficulties, particularly the rise in energy prices, and branded the West’s “systemic mistakes”.
Posted at 12:30 p.m
“We all hear about so-called ‘Putin inflation’ […] Our actions to liberate Donbass have nothing to do with it,” he said during the plenary session of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
“It is the result of the systemic failures of the American administration and the European bureaucracy […] For them, our operation is a lifeline that allows them to put everything on our shoulders,” the Russian president continued, criticizing the “erroneous economic policies” of Western countries.
“They printed for this money, distributed money and raked all goods from third country markets,” he continued.
The United States and European countries are facing runaway inflation, which in the UK has reached as much as 11% over a year, largely due to the rise in fuel prices. Russia is hard to beat with a 16.7% price increase over the year.
Gas prices continued to rise on Friday, buoyed by Russian giant Gazprom further reducing its supplies to Europe amid Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Moscow.
In the same speech, he again denounced the “crazy and senseless” sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, believing that Europeans are suffering more than Moscow and that the Russian economy is responding very well.
“We suppressed the surge in inflation […] The economic situation is stabilizing, state finances are robust,” Putin said, assuring that the state budget, driven by energy prices, had “a surplus of 1,500 billion rubles” ($340 million) in the first five months of the year.
“Our task today is to create the conditions for the industry to flourish, to support demand in the domestic market,” added the Russian President.
He also reiterated that his country and army were not preventing Ukraine from exporting its grain abroad, assuring that Kyiv had many options and that “it wasn’t us who mined the Black Sea ports.”
Ukraine mined its shores to protect itself from a military landing by Russia, which attacked it on February 24.
For several weeks, the United Nations has been negotiating with Moscow, Kyiv and Ankara, the military guarantors of civilian ships’ use of the Black Sea, for an agreement that would allow millions of tons of blocked Ukrainian grain to safely leave the country.
If an agreement were reached, it would lower food prices and ease fears of a world food crisis.
“The situation on world food markets is deteriorating, but it’s not our fault at all,” Putin said.
“We don’t want people to go hungry somewhere in a few countries,” he said.
The Russian President also said he was hopeful about the return of Western companies to Russia, especially European ones, which had slammed the door due to the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
“I have no doubt that over time many of our partners from European countries will return to the Russian market. And we will not put any obstacles in their way. We’re open to the whole world,” he said.