Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned sanctions imposed on the west towards his country since the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, drawing a tough response from the West.
The west has placed sanctions on Russia’s currency, the Rouble, limited or totally cut off Russian exports, banned travel to and fro Russia and imposed fines and sanctions on Russia oligarchs and politicians including Putin himself.
Now Putin says the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia are “mad and thoughtless”.
Speaking at a forum in St Petersburg on Friday, June 17, he said “the economic blitzkrieg against Russia had no chance of succeeding from the very beginning. They are mad and thoughtless.”
Putin said the sanctions were “more harmful” to those who imposed them.
His statement comes as fierce fighting continued in Ukraine’s eastern city of Severodonetsk.
Capturing Severodonetsk and Lysychansk has for weeks been the key target for Russian troops.
Speaking at the annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said the EU could lose more than $400bn (£326bn) because of its sanctions against Russia.
He said inflation was increasing across the 27-member EU bloc and the real interests of people in Europe were being sidelined.
Referring to fears of a global food crisis triggered by the continuing war in Ukraine, Putin claimed that Russia was “capable of significantly increasing its exports of grain and fertilisers.” Grain exports alone could rise to some 50 million tonnes, he said.
Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers along with Russia, but has been unable to send supplies abroad because of a blockade of its Black Sea ports.
Putin also told Russia’s major business men to keep investing in the country, amid reports that an increasing number of business owners were refocusing their efforts on overseas operations.
“Invest here. It’s safer in your own house. Those who didn’t want to listen to this have lost millions abroad,” Mr Putin said.