Russian President Vladimir Putin has faced one setback after another since his troops invaded Ukraine. His army made unstable gains on the battlefield. His country’s economy has been hit by sanctions. Now he’s lashing out at critics and saying Russia will outlast its enemies.
Putin made the remarks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
He accused the West of waging a smear campaign and said he was trying to undermine trust in Russian businesses and confidence in the rouble.
Putin said Western nations intended to use sanctions to crush Russia’s economy by destroying supply chains, forcing Western companies out of the market, freezing assets – hitting industry, finance and the Russian standard of living. He added that they had failed to achieve these goals.
Putin said soaring food prices in the West prove sanctions hurt the very people who imposed them. He added that Russia always has the capacity to increase its food and fertilizer exports and has never reduced its exports.
He again stressed that Russian forces were winning the game in Ukraine. He guaranteed that they would achieve all the objectives of what he called the special military operation.
Russian troops focused on gaining ground in the Lugansk region of eastern Ukraine.
They tried to overcome resistance in the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The regional governor said a Russian airstrike hit a medical facility and killed four people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the capital, Kyiv. He said after the meeting that Putin must pay a high price for the invasion and that Russia must compensate Ukraine for all the losses suffered by its people, communities and businesses. He added that he must be held accountable for the food crisis he caused.
Zelenskyy said he and Johnson spoke about Ukraine’s urgent need for heavy weapons. Johnson said he intended to help escalate sanctions against Russia and pledged to build support for Ukraine.