Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Western sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its war in Ukraine are a global pandemic.
At a business conference in Vladivostok, he said that despite Western economic “aggression,” Russia was holding its own.The Russian president, however, expressed concern that the sanctions were causing a decline in living standards for Europeans while denying food to developing nations.
Also, he claimed that Europe was stealing grain from Ukraine and selling it to poor countries.
In spite of the fact that Russia’s leader falsely claimed that only two-grain ships had gone to Africa after exports resumed at the beginning of August when Russian forces had blocked them for months.
Ukraine has rejected his claims as baseless and said he wants to discuss revisiting the deal.
On February 24, Russia began an invasion of Ukraine, which currently controls about 20% of the country. After six months of fighting, it has been driven out of Kyiv and the north and is now facing a counteroffensive from the Ukrainians in the south and east.
As a result of the war, the West sanctioned a wide range of Russian organizations and citizens.
To reduce EU reliance on Russian gas and oil, Moscow has temporarily disabled its key Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany, citing technical difficulties.
Energy costs have skyrocketed, prompting a crisis meeting of EU ministers this coming Friday. The Russian leader slammed a plan to limit gas prices in his country as “idiotic.”
Mr. Putin argued that the West is trying to impose its values on the rest of the world. He said that many businesses had hurriedly left Russia, but “now we are seeing how production and jobs in Europe are closing one after the other.” Still, Russia is experiencing some of the same difficulties as other countries due to rising inflation and the inability of businesses to import essential components.
Adding insult to injury, last week, the EU’s 27 member states agreed to make the process of obtaining a visa for Russians more laborious after the EU had already banned direct flights from Russia.
A Schengen visa, which allows travel to 22 European Union countries, is likely to increase in price as well.
In a further development, the three Baltic states have reached an agreement to strictly limit the entry of Russian citizens from Russia and Belarus, with the exception of truck drivers and those traveling for humanitarian or family-related reasons.
Putin made these remarks in an address that seemed to be directed as much at Western observers as it was at a domestic audience. The war had a positive effect on Russia, which was emerging from it with a stronger sense of sovereignty: “I am sure that we have not lost anything and we will not lose anything.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, claimed that Russia was attempting to use its energy resources as a means of blackmail against Europe: “Putin wants to ruin the stability and well-being of every household in Europe.”
During his speech, the Russian president said, “no matter how much someone would like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do this.” Prominent Chinese lawmaker Li Zhanshu was present at the forum.
It was reported by Russian news outlets that President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet in Uzbekistan the following week. Until an agreement was reached under UN auspices to unblock three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, grain exports were severely curtailed.
There has been a gradual resumption of shipments, and just last week, an UN-chartered ship carrying 23,000 tonnes docked in Djibouti.
Sixty trucks full of grain have finally made it to Ethiopia, where it will hopefully be used to feed 1.5 million people despite the country’s ongoing drought and civil strife.
Several ships have headed to Egyptian ports, while others have sailed for Yemen and Sudan.