Vladimir Putin has condemned Western sanctions imposed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying they pose a threat to the entire world.
In a speech at an economic forum in Vladivostok, he warned that Russia was dealing with economic “aggression” by the West, that Europeans’ living standards were being sacrificed by sanctions and that poor countries were losing access to food.
He also said that Europe is cheating poor countries that do not have access to grain produced by Ukraine.
Although Russian forces blockaded Ukraine’s ports for months, exports resumed in early August, and according to the Russian leader, only two grain ships reached Africa, which is not true.
The President also said that he would like to discuss the review of the agreement allowing the export of these grains.
Russia launched its invasion on February 24 and now occupies a fifth of Ukraine. Russian troops have been pulled out of Kiev and areas around the northern part of the country and are now facing a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south and east.
Western countries responded by imposing sanctions on Russian individuals, businesses and state-owned enterprises in response to the invasion. The European Union has sought to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas, and Moscow has shut down its main gas pipelines. Nord Stream 1, to Germany, argues technical issues.
Energy prices have soared and EU ministers will meet next Friday to respond to the crisis. The Russian leader called the plan to put a cap on Russian gas prices “stupid”.
Putin said on Wednesday that the West was trying to impose his behavior on other countries. Many companies have left Russia, but “now we see how production and jobs in Europe are closing one after another,” he said.
However, Russia is also feeling the pinch of sanctions, with inflation rising and companies struggling to import much-needed parts.
The European Union has already banned direct flights from Russia and last week further angered Moscow by agreeing to make the process of obtaining visas for Russians more complicated by its 27 member states.
The highly regarded Schengen visa, which covers 22 EU countries, is also expensive. The three Baltic states have now gone further with an agreement banning Russians from crossing from Russia and Belarus unless they are truck drivers or for family and humanitarian reasons.
In a speech aimed at Western audiences as well as domestic audiences, President Putin said the public was losing faith in the dollar, euro and pound. Russia, for its part, came out of the war with its sovereignty strengthened: “We have not lost anything and I am sure that we will not lose anything.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia was looking Threatens Europe with its energy resources: “Putin wants to destroy the stability and well-being of all families in Europe.”
As Chinese lawmaker Li Zhanshu attended a forum where Putin was speaking, the Russian president said: “No matter how much one wants to isolate Russia, it cannot be achieved.”
Russian news agencies have reported that President Putin will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan next week.
Until a UN-sponsored deal was reached months ago to lift Russia’s blockade of three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, grain exports dropped to a crawl.
Cargo has gradually resumed and a UN-designated ship arrived in Djibouti last week carrying 23,000 tonnes. Grain has already arrived in Ethiopia in 60 trucks with the aim of feeding more than one and a half million people in the drought- and civil war-ravaged country.
Other ships left for Yemen and Sudan, while others went to ports in Egypt.
Under the agreement, all shipments are authorized by a joint center in Turkey. That is what the Center says so far Two million tonnes have been sanctioned Cereals, Destined to Turkey and the Middle East, and even to ports in the European Union.
But President Putin blamed the European countries continue to act as colonizers He also said he would propose to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to limit the destinations for Ukrainian exports.
“Turkey is not considered an intermediary country, and practically all grain taken from Ukraine goes not to poor and developing countries, but to EU countries,” argued the Russian president.
An adviser to the Ukrainian president accused him of making baseless comments, saying the Russian leader was trying to influence public opinion around the world and the UN. He told the Reuters news agency that he is also trying to put pressure on
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