President Vladimir Putin has goaded the West and made claims that sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine have ‘failed’ as Russian has begun ‘phase two’ of the assault on Ukraine.
Reports suggest Putin said on Monday during a video call with top economic officials, that the West “expected to quickly upset the financial-economic situation, provoke panic in the markets, the collapse of the banking system and shortages in stores”, adding that “the strategy of the economic blitz has failed” and has led to a “deterioration” of the Western economy.
During a speech at the Vostochny space launch facility in far east Russia, Putin said that he believes that Ukraine was created as “some kind of launch pad for aggression against Russia, and the offshoots of nationalism were totally cherished.” He also suggested that “the new generation of Ukrainian nationalists are especially clashing with Russia, and you see how Nazi ideology became a fact of life in Ukraine. It was unavoidable. We are taking steps to provide security for Russia. We didn’t have any other choice. We did the right thing and I have no doubt that our aims will be achieved.”
Unprecedented sanctions have been imposed by Western countries on Russia’s financial and corporate systems since it sent troops into Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. Russia calls their invasion a “special military operation”.
Putin argued that the Rouble has strengthened, and the country has recorded a historic high trade surplus of $58 billion in the first quarter of 2022. He believes that the sanctions have backfired against the USA and its European allies. He claims that inflation has sped up as a result of this, leading to a demise in living standards.
The Russian President did however, acknowledge a price hike in shopper costs for Russian consumers, but he had issued directions to authorities to ease the influence of inflation on people’s incomes by indexing wages and different funds.
Mayor (of Moscow) Sergei S. Sobyanin announced a $56 million job program after his office estimated around 200,000 people risk losing their jobs. He expects 58,000 employees will receive assistance from this program and a further 12,500 will undertake retraining.
Chairwoman of the Russian central bank gave a speech to the Lower House of Parliament where she stated that almost all products that are manufactured in Russia require imported components and she warned that while factories may still have stock at the moment, they could be forced to change their supply chains or created their own because of Western export restrictions.
Over the recent weeks, the military campaign Russia has been running has focussed it’s efforts on the eastern region of Donbas, which has been partially controlled by pro-Moscow separatists since 2014. Mr Putin made this change in tactics after he was forced to pull troops out of the north after being unable to capture Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, regardless of the relentless attacks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on Telegram late Monday, “We can now confirm that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, which they have been preparing for a long time.” He added, “No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves.”