Russian President Vladimir Putin affirms that he respects Ukraine’s entry into the European Union if its population so desires. “It is not a military organization, it is a political bloc unlike NATO, and we have always said it, here our position is consistent and clear: we have nothing against it,” the Russian leader replied when asked at the closing of the Forum Petersburg for the future of a country that has been under fire from Russian weapons for 114 days and that this Friday received the support of the European Commission for its accession to the bloc.
Despite this apparently conciliatory message, hours before the Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, had stressed that Moscow will closely monitor the Ukrainian integration process because the EU has begun to discuss “strengthening its defense” in recent times. Specifically, the debate has intensified since February 24, when Russian troops crossed the border of another sovereign country.
During his speech, Putin assured that his objectives in Ukraine will be completed, at the same time that he denounced the visions of unipolar worlds “where there is a strong power with several states within its circle and where international rules are interpreted solely in the interest of that power. ”. Despite this criticism, Putin, who in 2021 wrote an article in which he considered Ukraine and Russia historically indivisible, during the event disparaged kyiv’s “choice as a civilization” in favor of the West, because their leaders “only hide their attempts to protect his booty.”
The Russian president addressed the reasons for the current economic crisis at the closing of the 25th edition of the forum, which was marred by the boycott of nearly 150 countries for his military adventure. Putin affirmed that neither the pandemic nor the offensive have caused the economic earthquake, but rather the “irresponsible macroeconomic policies” of the G7 in recent years, and announced the beginning of a new era.
“It is a mistake to believe that in a time of turbulent change you can sit back and wait for everything to return to normal, to the way it was before. That will not happen,” said the Russian leader, who spoke of “tectonic changes” in international relations and the economy, and warned that confidence in international currencies “has been damaged by geopolitical ambitions.”
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Putin predicted a new era in which the dollar and the euro will sink. “The economy of imaginary entities will be replaced by the economy of real assets,” he predicted.
“The authorities of the major economies simply gave the printing press the money,” Putin said. “That money is depreciating 8% per year, and the reserves can be confiscated or stolen at any time if the US does not like something in the politics of a country,” denounced the Russian president, referring to the freezing of the fund. reserves that the Slavic country had before launching its attack. According to the president, that money will now go “to food, energy and other raw materials,” and will increase international inflation.
Putin also stated that Western sanctions “have been a double-edged sword” that will cost Europe some 400 billion dollars (382 billion euros) next year while its economy has already managed to stabilize. “The calculation was clear, to crush the Russian economy with one blow, and it did not work,” the Russian president added.
“The rise in inflation has exceeded 20% in some eurozone countries,” Putin said, mentioning the case of Estonia, although the average rise in prices in the eurozone was 8.1% year-on-year in May, according to the latest data from Eurostat, while in the case of Russia it was around 17.5%, according to the central bank of the Slavic country.
Kazakhstan does not recognize Donbas
The conference put the icing on the cake for a forum that has lost a large part of its participants from previous editions due to the offensive on Ukraine. The president of China, Xi Jinping, and the leaders of Egypt, Abdel Fatah al Sisi, and of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokáyev, also appeared briefly in it to support Putin.
The leader of the Asian power stressed that cooperation between the two countries “has had an upward trajectory” these months. However, in a call with Putin last Wednesday, Xi Jinping limited his trade relations to what the restrictions allow. The Russian leader, for his part, admitted at the event that they are not allies. “This does not mean that China should follow us in everything,” he stated.
Clearer was the Kazakh president. “The sanctions exist. We take these restrictions into account in our trade and economic strategies,” stressed Tokayev, whose government was protected militarily by the Kremlin in the January protests. The highest-ranking guest present at the forum also delivered another diplomatic “slap in the face” by refusing to recognize the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk when urged to do so by the moderator in front of Putin.