Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine was not the cause of global economic troubles, instead blaming Western countries for using the situation to cover up their own mistakes.
“What is happening is not the result of recent months, much less the result of a special military operation that Russia is conducting in the Donbas,” Putin said referring to the predominantly Russia-speaking region of Eastern Ukraine.
“The rising prices, inflation, the problem with foods, prices for fuel.. are the result of systematic mistakes in the economic policy of the current US administration and European bureaucracy,” Putin said in televised remarks at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Moscow’s military action became a “lifeline” for Western countries “that allows them to blame their own miscalculations on others, in this case, on Russia,” he added.
Driven by a spike in fuel prices, the United States and European countries have faced soaring inflation, with Britain predicting that inflation in the country could surpass 11 percent this year.
Gas prices were also on the rise Friday, exacerbated by the decision by Russian energy giant Gazprom to slash deliveries to Europe, citing repair works.
Putin said that high energy prices “have been observed since the third quarter (of last year), long before the start of our operation in Donbas”, adding that the price hikes were also the result of Europe’s “failed energy policy”.
Moscow’s military campaign and unprecedented economic sanctions imposed on Moscow have also disrupted deliveries of grain and other commodities from Russia and Ukraine, resulting in food price rises.
But Putin said that Russia was not preventing ships loaded with grain from leaving Ukraine, instead blaming authorities in Kyiv for mining their ports, downplaying the significance of Ukraine’s grain supplies.
Putin said the food and fertiliser shortage “threatens starvation primarily in the poorest countries. And this will be entirely on the conscience of the administration of the United States and Europe”.
The Kremlin insists that the country is holding up against the Western-imposed sanctions and that Europe and the United States are suffering more than Russia as a result of the reprisals, despite Russia being largely cut off financially and in trade terms from the rest of the world.