Talking at an annual financial discussion board within the far-eastern port metropolis of Vladivostok, Putin scoffed on the EU plans for a cap on Russian oil and fuel costs as a “silly” concept that “will solely result in a hike in costs”.
“An try and restrict costs by administrative means is simply ravings, it is sheer nonsense,” Putin mentioned. “In the event that they attempt to implement that dumb determination, it should entail nothing good for individuals who will make it.”
He warned that such a transfer by the EU would characterize a transparent breach of the present conracts, saying that Russia may reply by turning off the taps.
“Will they make political selections violating the contracts?” he mentioned. “In that case, we are going to simply halt provides if it contradicts our financial pursuits. We can’t provide any fuel, oil, diesel oil or coal.”
The Russian chief charged that Russia will simply discover sufficient clients in Asia to shift its vitality exports away from Europe. “The demand is so excessive on world markets that we can’t have any drawback promoting it,” he mentioned.
Putin added that “those that attempt to implement one thing on us aren’t able at the moment to dictate their will”, pointing at protests within the West towards rising vitality costs.
Simply hours earlier than it was resulting from resume pure fuel deliveries to Germany on Friday after a three-day stoppage for repairs, Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom fuel large claimed it could not accomplish that till oil leaks in generators are mounted. German officers and engineers refuted that declare.
The Kremlin blamed the suspension of provides on Western sanctions towards Gazprom, charging that they hamper regular upkeep of the pipeline’s gear and signalling that provides could not resume till the restrictions are lifted. EU officers rejected the declare as a canopy for a political energy play.
Putin dismissed the EU’s argument that Russia was utilizing vitality as a weapon by suspending fuel provides through the Nord Stream 1 fuel pipeline to Germany, charging that the sanctions made the pipeline turbine unsafe to function.
“They’ve pushed themselves into impasse with sanctions,” he mentioned.
He repeated that Moscow stands prepared to begin pumping fuel “as early as tomorrow” by way of the Nord Stream 2, which has been placed on maintain by the German authorities.
Turning to Ukraine, Putin declared once more that the primary objective behind sending troops into Ukraine was defending civilians after eight years of preventing within the nation’s east.
“It wasn’t us who began the army motion, we are attempting to place an finish to it,” Putin mentioned, repeating his long-held argument that he ordered the army motion to guard Moscow-backed separatist areas in Ukraine, which have fought Ukrainian forces within the battle that erupted in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“All our motion has been aimed toward serving to individuals dwelling within the Donbas, it is our responsibility and we are going to fulfil it till the tip,” he mentioned. “Within the longer run, it should assist strengthen our nation each domestically and internationally.”
Putin emphasised that Russia will maintain defending its sovereignty within the face of what he described as an try by the US and its allies to protect their world domination, saying that “the world mustn’t be based on the diktat of 1 nation that deemed itself the consultant of the almighty and even larger and based mostly its insurance policies on its perceived exclusivity”.
The Russian chief acknowledged that the nationwide financial system will shrink by 2 per cent this yr, however mentioned that the financial and monetary scenario in Russia has stabilised, client costs inflation has slowed down and unemployment has remained low.
“Russia has resisted the financial, monetary and technological aggression of the West,” Putin mentioned.
“There was a sure polarisation on the planet and contained in the nation, however I view it as a constructive factor. Every part pointless, dangerous, every thing that has prevented us from going ahead can be rejected.”
Commenting on scores of essential media shops being pressured to close down after the beginning of the army marketing campaign in Ukraine following the passage of a brand new legislation that criminalised any reporting on army motion that differs from the official line, Putin mentioned their reporters had been completely happy to go away the nation.
“They had been at all times working towards our nation whereas they had been right here, and now they fortunately moved out,” he mentioned.
Russia’s prime unbiased newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, was among the many shops that had been pressured to close down underneath official strain.
On Monday, a court docket in Moscow upheld a movement from Russian authorities to revoke its license.
Dmitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize-winning editor-in-chief of the newspaper, known as the ruling on Monday “political” and “not having the slightest authorized foundation”.
Putin sought to slight Muratov’s prize, describing it as politically pushed and, in a facet jab, in contrast it to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Barack Obama whereas he was the US president.
“We had business-like relations with President Obama, however what did they provide him the Nobel prize for?” Putin mentioned. “What did he do to assist defend peace? I imply army operations in some areas of the world the president carried out.”
Commenting on the European Union’s determination to make it tougher for Russian residents to enter the 27-nation bloc, Putin mentioned that Russia will not reply in variety and can proceed to welcome guests.
“We aren’t going to halt contacts, and those that do it, they isolate themselves and never us,” he mentioned.