But within the West’s personal defiant rejoinder, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday reiterated that the European Union intends to interrupt Russia’s grip on international vitality markets and would press forward with not solely the cap on oil costs however on pure gas costs as nicely.
“Not only because Russia is an unreliable supplier, as we have witnessed in the last days, weeks, months, but also because Russia is actively manipulating the gas market,” von der Leyen advised reporters in Brussels. “I am deeply convinced that with our unity, our determination, our solidarity, we will prevail.”
In his combative, at instances scornful, remarks, Putin stated he expects his nation to emerge stronger from the conflict in Ukraine, and he issued threats meant to strain the West to ease sanctions imposed on Russia because the invasion started Feb. 24.
“I’m sure we have not lost anything and will not lose anything,” Putin stated. “The main thing is strengthening our sovereignty, and this is the inevitable result of what is happening now.”
Putin declared that Russia would press on with its navy motion in Ukraine and stated “the polarization” produced by the battle would solely profit Russia because it cleanses “harmful” parts contained in the nation.
Western intelligence companies estimate that Russia has misplaced tens of 1000’s of troopers within the six months of the conflict and an enormous quantity of navy tools that the nation is struggling to exchange. The Russian marketing campaign has stalled in latest weeks, and Ukraine, though nonetheless closely outmatched, is mounting a counteroffensive within the south geared toward recapturing occupied territory.
As punishment for the Russian invasion, which initially sought — and failed — to seize Kyiv, the capital, and topple the federal government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Western powers have imposed a unprecedented barrage of financial sanctions and export management measures geared toward crippling Russia’s economic system. But the outcomes have fallen in need of expectation as vitality costs soared and Russia redirected gross sales of gas and oil to Asia.
Speaking on Wednesday, Putin referred to as the worth caps on oil and gas proposed by G-7 “stupid” and stated they’d solely additional destabilize European economies. He additionally threatened that Russia would stroll away from the prevailing provide contracts if the caps took impact.
“Will there be any political decisions that contradict the contracts? Yes, we won’t fulfill them. We will not supply anything at all if it contradicts our interests,” Putin stated, underscoring Moscow’s flip towards Asian markets.
On Friday, Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas behemoth that operates vital pipelines supplying Europe, indefinitely halted the movement to Germany by way of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which accounted for about 35 % of all European gas imports from Russia final 12 months.
In an additional ominous growth, Russian officers and pro-Kremlin Telegram channels this week have extensively shared a video purportedly exhibiting Europe freezing in winter. The clip reveals a Gazprom worker strolling towards a turned-off gas valve, adopted by scenes of a snowed-covered metropolis. Online sleuths recognized the frozen metropolis as Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, which doesn’t use pure gas however suffers from air air pollution because of coal-fired energy vegetation.
In his speech, Putin rejected the E.U. accusation that Russia is utilizing vitality as a weapon, and he reiterated Russia’s prior assertion that technical issues prompted the pipe to interrupt down, complaining that the West was not offering a crucially wanted turbine to restore it.
“Nord Steam 1 is practically closed now,” Putin stated Wednesday. “There is an oil leak there — it’s a possibly explosive situation, a fire hazard. … Give us a turbine, and we will turn on Nord Stream 1 tomorrow. But they don’t give us anything.”
Putin, nonetheless, craftily provided that Moscow was able to “press the button” and pump gas “as early as tomorrow” by way of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Germany has blocked from starting operation, a lot to the Kremlin’s fury.
The Russian chief additionally dangled restrictions on one other essential European import over which Moscow has leverage: grain.
Putin claimed that a lot of the grain not too long ago launched from Ukrainian ports due to a Turkey-brokered deal to finish a Russian blockade was going to the European Union as an alternative of growing nations.
Accusing the West of “colonial” conduct, Putin stated grain shipments to Europe needs to be lower off.
“Once again, they simply deceived the developing countries and continue to deceive them. … With this approach, the scale of food problems in the world will only grow,” Putin stated. “Maybe we should think about restricting that route for grain and trade food? I’ll definitely consult with the Turkish president.”
Putin scoffed at options that the affect of Western sanctions would devastate the Russian economic system, noting that it could contract solely by “around 2 percent or a little more” and that Russia’s 2022 price range could be in surplus.
“Russia is coping with the economic, financial and technological aggression of the West,” Putin stated. “We have passed the peak of the most difficulties, and the situation is normalizing.”
These assessments contradicted Russian policymakers on the Russian Central Bank and the Ministry of Economic Development, which not too long ago stated that whereas the economic system has held up higher than anticipated thus far, 2023 might be far tougher as the consequences of extra sanctions are felt.
“No matter how much someone wants to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do,” Putin stated. “You just need to look at the map.”
The Eastern Economic Forum, which is held yearly in Vladivostok to advertise funding alternatives in Russia’s Far East, boasted few Western friends this 12 months.
At Wednesday’s plenary, Putin sat subsequent to Myanmar’s junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing, who has been sanctioned by the United States for human rights violations.
In August, Myanmar introduced it deliberate to import oil from Russia, and this week Min Aung Hlaing advised Putin that the nation was ready to pay for the imports in Russian rubles, aiding Russia’s purpose of detaching itself from the U.S. greenback.
China’s prime legislator, Li Zhanshu, and high-ranking officers from Armenia and Mongolia additionally attended the discussion board. Russia’s ambassador to Beijing, Andrey Denisov, introduced Wednesday that Putin was set to fulfill Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan subsequent week, of their first face-to-face encounter because the invasion of Ukraine.