Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is impossible to cut Russia off from the rest of the world, and that sanctions imposed by Western countries will not turn the clock back on Russia’s development.
Since sending troops into Ukraine on February 24, Russia has been hit with a barrage of Western sanctions designed to isolate it from the global economy that have deprived it of access to goods including commercial electronics, semiconductors and aircraft parts.
“Not just restrictions but the almost-complete closure of access to foreign hi-tech products is being deliberately, intentionally used against our country,” Putin said on Monday, speaking at a video conference with government figures.
“It is clear that this is a huge challenge for our country, but … we are not going to give up and stay in a state of disarray or, as some of our ‘well-wishers’ predict, go back decades. Of course not,” he said.
Putin said Russia would have to develop its own domestic technology and technology firms.
Finance minister Anton Siluanov said support for the Russian technology sector is a priority, but that every rouble of state support should be accompanied by at least three roubles of private investment.
The EU’s foreign ministers said on Monday that the sanctions imposed on Moscow are working, even though they also threatened the EU’s energy supplies.
Last week, Hungary’s nationalist premier Viktor Orban – the EU leader closest to the Kremlin and a critic of Brussels – denounced the policy, saying Brussels was hurting Europe more than Moscow.
“Some European leaders have been saying that the sanctions were … a mistake,” EU policy chief Joseph Borrell told reporters as he arrived at the bloc’s headquarters on Monday for talks on closing loopholes in the sanctions regime and increasing pressure on Russia.
“It is what we had to do and we will continue doing,” he added.