Vladimir Putin says ‘peak’ of Western sanctions impact has passed

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. Picture: Sergei Bobylyov/TASS Host Photo Agency/AFP
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Moscow, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia has passed the “peak” of economic difficulties from Western sanctions imposed over Ukraine.

“We think the peak of the situation has passed. The situation is normalising,” Putin told the Eastern Economic Forum in the Pacific city of Vladivostok.

He pointed to improving economic indicators, including “an unemployment rate at its lowest, at 3.9 percent” and “inflation going down”.

Western sanctions have targeted Russia’s energy and banking sectors in particular.

Inflation in the country soared to a two-decade high in April. It has since slowed somewhat, but remains high, standing at 15.1 percent in July.

“The increase in prices still represents a certain threat,” Putin conceded, because “this affects the standard of living and the economy” as a whole.

He admitted there were still “problems” linked to the imposition of sanctions, “in particular for companies that were supplied from Europe”.

But he said Russia’s abundance of natural resources would protect the country.

“Russia is perhaps the only country that is capable of being self-sufficient in natural resources,” Putin said, as “one by one, jobs and companies disappear in Europe”.

The Russian central bank is projecting economic contraction of between four and six percent for the whole of 2022 and then a further contraction of between one and four percent for 2023, before growth picks up again in 2024.