Putin says Western sanctions over Ukraine create opportunities for Russia
Russian president acknowledges sanctions brought problems to Russia, but says government can work to free country from external factors
Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict can create new opportunities for Russia, the country's President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a meeting on Arctic zone development in Moscow, Putin stressed that Russia has the resources and potential to cope with any problems it faces, adding that anti-Russian sanctions have come back to bite the countries that imposed them.
"I would like to stress that the refusal of normal cooperation by a number of Western countries, including (buying) Russian energy resources, or at least reducing (purchases of Russian energy resources), has already impacted millions of Europeans, provoked a real energy crisis, and has affected the United States,” he said.
"Prices are rising everywhere, and inflation is simply going through the roof – for these countries it is absolutely unprecedented. Of course, we also face problems, but alternative opportunities, options, and new windows of opportunity are opening up for us," he said.
Putin said that "as a result of the actions of unfriendly countries," a number of transport and logistics chains have been disrupted, with some foreign companies partially or completely refusing to fulfill their contractual obligations.
"Of course, in the current situation, this creates certain difficulties for us, but we have all the resources and all the opportunities to quickly find alternative solutions, and in the long term to further strengthen our independence from external factors. An extremely important task," he said.
At least 1,892 civilians have been killed and 2,558 injured in Ukraine since Russia started the war on its western neighbor on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates, with the true figure believed to be far higher.
More than 4.24 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.