Putin says to hell with those sanctions as Russia managed to offset all losses from sanctions

Says Europe hit harder from sanctions than Russia

Russia has lost about $50 billion as a result of foreign sanctions, but it has managed to offset the losses by various means, including import substitution, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"To hell with those sanctions," Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin". "According to various estimates, we have lost 50 billion but we have earned the same amount." He agreed that the losses were significant, but the introduction of sanctions "made us use our brains." Russia focused on import substitution, and started manufacturing "such items and technologies that we did not have before or we simply forgot about them and lost them."

"We recreated all of this," the head of state said. "And we are undoubtedly benefiting from it. It diversifies our economy. In fact, it helps tackle the prevailing priority."

Putin dismissed assumptions that Russia was "deliberately hurting [itself]" as pure nonsense. "Counter-sanctions helped boost the agroindustry. They unshackled our domestic market," he pointed out.

He recalled that agroindustrial production had skyrocketed and that Russia was now the world’s number one producer of wheat. "Nobody would have ever thought that we would become such a major exporter. And we will raise this volume," Putin emphasized.

"We started to produce enough to meet our basic food needs: dairy, poultry, pork, and basic products. We need to work more on vegetables and start working on beef," he acknowledged.

Sanctions and counter-sanctions

The European Union’s economic sanctions against Russia have been targeting the banking sector, the defense industry and oil companies. Also, the EU introduced restrictions the export of weapons, military equipment, military and dual-purpose technologies, as well as high-tech equipment and oil production technologies. The restrictions do not apply to Russia’s gas industry.

Washington slapped sanctions on Moscow over the events in Ukraine and the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014. They apply to a number of Russian banks and companies, and also to senior officials. The export of US goods, technologies and services to Crimea was prohibited. US investment on the peninsula is outlawed. The sanctions have been repeatedly expanded and prolonged.

In August 2014, Russia launched counter-measures in retaliation for the sanctions taken by the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway. Moscow prohibited the import of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products from these countries. At a certain point, Moscow had to struggle against the re-export of prohibited European products via Belarus and Serbia. Also, in May 2015, a ban was imposed on the import of peanuts and live poultry from the US. Furthermore, the import of live, chilled and frozen fish and crabs from the United States, the European Union, the EU, Australia, Canada and Norway has been restricted.

President Vladimir Putin noted that Russia and Europe both have endured losses as a result of the sanctions standoff, but the losses that Europe has encountered are far more serious in some respects.
"The fact is our partners also lose approximately the same. Europe has lost roughly the same, according to their estimates. Actually, they’ve been losing even more sensitive things," he told TASS in an interview.
As an example, he pointed to job cuts in European countries, brought on by dwindling trade with Russia. "Right now, we have the lowest unemployment in history. Here, we lost nothing," he said, noting that the sanctions were having adverse effects on both sides.
"It is bad because it is distorting the entire global and European economic space. Competition should be natural without any external restrictions," he stressed.
Talks on the cancellation of visas and a new basic agreement on cooperation were put on hold, some Russian officials were prohibited from visiting EU countries and their assets were frozen. In addition, trading, financial and military restrictions were introduced.

Sectoral sanctions are in effect against a number of Russian financial, oil producing and defense organizations. Several Russian banks face restrictions on access to European loans. In the meantime, branches of Russia’s public banks registered on EU soil are exempt from sectoral sanctions.

The EU Also imposed a ban on the import of goods from Crimea and Sevastopol, and transport and visa restrictions on their residents within the framework of the so-called Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act.

Episode 14 of this video interview is available  HERE

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