Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the West is trying to economically cripple Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
“Behind the hypocritical talk and today’s actions of the so-called collective West are hostile geopolitical goals. They just don’t want a strong and sovereign Russia,” Putin said, according to state-run media.
The Russian leader, speaking in a televised meeting in Moscow, said that other countries are trying to “cancel” Russia with a “blitzkrieg of sanctions.”
“The West doesn’t even bother to hide that their aim is to damage the entire Russian economy, every Russian,” Putin said.
After the Feb. 24 invasion, the United States, European Union, and other allies have imposed heavy sanctions against Russia’s financial and banking sectors. They’ve also targeted Putin and Russia’s leadership, and a number of multinational companies have pulled out or have turned off their services inside Russia.
The White House and its European allies said the sanctions are designed to prevent Russia from having further success in Ukraine, although some critics have said they might inadvertently push ordinary Russians into believing Putin’s narrative that the West is trying to destroy his country.
“Putin must pay the price,” Biden said in remarks last week. “He cannot pursue a war that threatens the very foundations of international peace and stability, and then ask for financial help from the international community.”
Now, structural changes to the economy would be needed, Putin said in his Wednesday address, according to the Interfax news agency. That means there will be “new realities,” including higher unemployment and growth in inflation, he said.
Putin added the West had effectively declared default on Russia as part of its sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, but he alleged the conflict had been only a pretext for the West to impose sanctions on Moscow.
The Kremlin, he added, is ready to discuss Ukraine’s status as a neutral country in peace talks, but he insisted that Moscow will meet the objectives of its invasion. Those objectives are “going according to plan,” he remarked, adding that the war, which he has described as a “special military operation,” is the only way to remove Ukraine’s military and what he described as a threat to Russia’s sovereignty.
Also on Wednesday, Zelensky addressed both houses of Congress and called on the United States to establish a no-fly zone over his country or requested that the United States provide more military aid, including fighter planes. A number of Republican and Democrat lawmakers indicated that more military aid is on the way following his speech.
“Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, not just our cities. It went on a brutal offensive against our values, basic human values,” Zelensky said via a translator. “It threw tanks and planes against our freedom, against our right to live freely in our own country, choosing our own future. Against our desire for happiness, against our national dream, just like the same dreams you have, you, Americans. Just like anyone else in the United States.”
The Ukrainian leader also invoked the attack on Pearl Harbor more than 80 years ago as well as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. NATO and U.S. officials said they will not send troops to Ukraine or enforce a no-fly zone, saying that both measures would escalate the conflict.
The United Nations’ refugee organization said that at least 3 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine into neighboring countries, while Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of attacking civilian infrastructure and residential buildings. Russia has denied those charges, saying its forces only target Ukrainian military assets.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times