Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said on Wednesday that Moscow would continue its military campaign in Ukraine until it achieves its objectives and derided efforts by the West to use sanctions to force Russia into a corner.
Putin said that the primary reason for deploying soldiers into Ukraine was to safeguard people in the nation’s east after eight years of conflict during an annual business event in the far-eastern port city of Vladivostok.
Putin reiterated his claim that he sent troops into Ukraine to defend Moscow-backed separatist regions there that have engaged Ukrainian forces in the conflict that erupted in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea by saying, “It wasn’t us who started the military action, we are trying to put an end to it.”
All of our efforts have been directed at assisting those living in the Donbas; this is our obligation, and we will carry it through to the very end, he said.
In response to Western sanctions, which Putin alleged to be on the verge of aggression, Putin said that Russia had reinforced its sovereignty.
According to Putin, Russia has fought Western economic, financial, and technical assault. “I’m certain that we haven’t lost anything and never will. The most significant benefit is the strengthening of our sovereignty; it is a natural outcome of what is happening.
Despite acknowledging that the country’s GDP would contract by 2% this year, the Russian leader said that the country’s financial and economic position has stabilized, consumer price inflation has decreased, and unemployment has stayed low.
“There has been some divisiveness in the nation and the globe, but I see it as a good thing,” he said. Since development can only be founded on sovereignty, everything that has held us back from progressing will be discarded. As a result, we will accelerate our rate of development.
Asserting that “the world must not be founded on the diktat of one country that deemed itself the representative of the almighty or even higher and based its policies on its perceived exclusivity,” Putin reaffirmed that Russia will continue to defend its sovereignty in the face of what he called an effort by the United States and its allies to maintain their global dominance.
He derided Western efforts to set price caps on Russian oil and gas, calling the notion “dumb,” and said that Russia would have plenty of consumers in Asia. We won’t have any trouble selling it because of the very strong demand on the international markets, he said.
Putin said that any effort to control prices via administrative methods is absurd and would only result in price increases.
He said, “If they attempt to execute this stupid choice, it will have no positive effects for those who will make it. Will they make political choices that go against agreements? If it conflicts with our business interests, we shall simply stop providing the product in such scenario. We won’t provide any coal, gas, oil, or fuel.
Pointing to demonstrations in the West over increasing energy costs, Putin said that “those who want to impose anything on us aren’t in a position today to dictate their will.”
He disagreed with the EU’s claim that Russia was using energy as a weapon by cutting off supply of gas to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
Putin reiterated the Russian claim that Western sanctions have made it difficult to maintain the last turbine still in use, forcing its closure.
He emphasized that, despite the German government’s suspension of Nord Stream 2, Moscow is prepared to “push the button” and begin pumping gas “as early as tomorrow.”
As a result of the enactment of a new law making any reporting on military action that deviates from the official line illegal, numerous critical media outlets were forced to close after the start of the military campaign in Ukraine. Putin commented on this situation and said the reporters were happy to leave the country.
They were always working against our nation while they were here, he said, and now they have cheerfully left.
Novaya Gazeta, the leading independent newspaper in Russia, was one of the publications compelled to close by government pressure. A Moscow court supported a Russian government move to cancel its license on Monday.
The newspaper’s editor-in-chief and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov described the decision as “political” and “lacking the smallest legal foundation” on Monday.
Putin made an attempt to downplay Muratov’s honor by characterizing it as politically motivated and, in a dig, drawing comparisons to the Nobel Peace Prize given to Barack Obama while he was president of the United States.
We interacted with President Obama in a professional manner, so why did they award him the Nobel Prize? said Putin. What actions did he take to maintain peace? I’m referring to the president’s military actions in several parts of the globe.
Putin stated in response to the European Union’s decision to make it more difficult for residents of his country to join the 27-nation bloc that Russia would not reciprocate in like and will continue to welcome tourists.
We won’t stop communication, he continued, and those who do so are isolating themselves rather than us.