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.
Mikhail Metzel Satellite Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his hand was “forced” by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and said a “blitzkrieg” of Western economic sanctions had failed to undermine the Russian economy.
Putin said the “stupid” sanctions, which had blocked Russian banks from international payment systems and forced international business to leave the country en masse, were “doomed from the start”, adding that the country remained open to doing business with those who wanted it. “
“The economic blitzkrieg against Russia was doomed from the start,” Putin said on Friday. Blitzkrieg describes a surprise attack with overwhelming force; a method widely associated with Nazi Germany during World War II.
“Obviously they failed. It didn’t happen, they didn’t succeed,” he said.
Speaking at a plenary session at Sofia University “St. At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin accused the West of colonial arrogance, saying Moscow’s so-called “special military operation” – which plunged Ukraine into total war and killed thousands – was due to the West’s refusal to honor its obligations.
“The decision to launch our special military operation was something we were forced to do, they forced us to do,” he said, adding that the decision was “difficult” but reaffirmed the Kremlin’s commitment to achieving its military goals.
“All the missions we have set for ourselves and all the goals of the special military operation will be fully fulfilled,” Putin said, to applause.
Russia’s president has long opposed what he sees as an expansion of the West – and NATO in particular – along Russia’s border, using this as one of the excuses for his internationally condemned invasion of Ukraine.
Putin also responded to what he described as false accusations that the war in Ukraine and its consequences for supply chains and commodity markets were responsible for the deteriorating global economic landscape.
Putin said he could be “flattered” by the suggestion that the Russian war could have negative consequences for the US economy, but insisted that was not true – an opinion widely refuted by economists.
“We will probably be flattered to hear that we are so great and so powerful that we can skyrocket inflation in the United States,” he said. “That’s just not true.”
In Europe, meanwhile, he said the deteriorating energy crisis was caused by “failures” in the region’s energy policy, and in particular by a “blind” belief in renewable energies. Europe has traditionally been a major importer of Russian hydrocarbons, but has since reduced its dependence on Russia in response to the war, leading to oversupply and rising commodity prices.
“It started long before our special military operation in Donbass and they blame us. “They have pushed their prices up and blamed us,” he said.
He also said the European Union could lose more than $ 400 billion to sanctions that he said would return to those who imposed them.
His comments to an audience of business leaders at SPIEF come at a time when Russia remains isolated from the West due to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Before the war, SPIEF was a prominent place on the business world calendar, with corporate and political leaders heading to Putin’s hometown for a forum in which Russia sought to promote its economy and attract investors.
However, after the Covid pandemic – and now with the war in Ukraine – the event looks drastically different, with many Western companies abandoning Russia. It should be noted that Russia – now under numerous international sanctions – still enjoys close relations with China and India, further strengthening its foothold in the east.
Russia initially launched a full-scale invasion (or what it calls a “special military operation”) in Ukraine in February. 24, stating that it intends to “denazify and demilitarize” the country by making false allegations about the Kyiv leadership that have been grossly rejected.
However, after invading from the north, east and south, it quickly became apparent that Russian forces had bitten more than they could chew. Moscow then announced that its troops would withdraw from the capital, Kyiv, to focus on the “liberation” of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, an industrial region home to two pro-Russian self-proclaimed “republics.”
After changing its strategy, Russia is attacking cities in the region and making slow but steady progress, capturing part of the territory in eastern and southeastern Ukraine.
Ukraine continues to demand more heavy weapons from its Western allies, although questions are beginning to be asked of governments about how long such support has lasted.
If Russia takes over the whole of Donbass, it is uncertain what will happen next. Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine stalled at the start of the conflict, and Kyiv has repeatedly said it will not cede any territory to Moscow.
Russia, meanwhile, is building statehood in the territories it occupies by distributing passports to residents of Kherson and Melitopol and planning referendums in occupied cities such as Kherson and Melitopol to join Russia. Ukraine has condemned what it sees as an attempt to “Russify” its lands and said any mention would be false and illegal.
There are widespread fears that – even if Russia manages to seize a corner from Ukraine – it will not be satisfied and could try a further invasion of Ukraine at a later date.
Other former Soviet republics, such as Moldova and Georgia, are also at risk. Putin does not hide his regret at the collapse of the Soviet Union, and last week he even positioned himself as the successor to the tsar and builder of the 17th-century Russian Empire, Peter the Great.