Putin Gloats, Says West Couldn't Stop Russia Despite 'Insane' Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin railed at the West in a blistering address on Friday in which he condemned the sanctions his country faces for its invasion of Ukraine and said the principles of the global economic system are under attack.

In a keynote speech at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said "allies in the West are trying to counteract the course of history" and were thinking "in terms of the last century."

Putin said Russia's economy was resilient to the "insane and thoughtless" sanctions imposed on it in response to the war in Ukraine.

He said "the economic blitzkrieg" against his country "had no chance of succeeding," and that western countries had failed to break Russia, pointing to how sanctions were impacting the European Union, which could lose more than $400 billion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 17, 2022. He took aim at the west and the sanctions his country has faced following his invasion of Ukraine. Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press

He also accused "our partners in the West" of trying to undermine international foundations "in the name of their geopolitical illusions." He said that when it won the Cold War, the U.S. "declared themselves God's own representatives on Earth" with "no responsibilities, only interests."

"It is a mistake to believe that the time of turbulent changes can be withstood and everything will return to normal," he added.

Putin also took a swipe at President Joe Biden for blaming him and his war for impacting on U.S. inflation which is running at its highest for a generation. The Russian leader said western countries were using the war as an excuse to hide their own economic mismanagement

"We all hear about so-called 'Putin's inflation.' This is a theory for those who cannot read and write. The reasons for their problems are the mistaken policies of the U.S. administration and of European bureaucracy."

Turning to his invasion of Ukraine, he said the move to start what Russia calls a "special operation" had been "forced on us" as he reiterated the unfounded accusation that the people in the Donbas region had faced "genocide."

He also said that western countries continued to supply Ukraine weapons but that there was no doubt that "all the goals of the special operations will be completed in full."

Facing accusations that he is hampering the world's food supply by blockading Ukrainian ports, Putin said Russia was able to increase exports of grains and fertilizers.

He also discussed domestic economic matters, as he encouraged Russian businesses to keep working in the country and pledge to push inflation down from more than 16 percent to four percent.

Putin's speech was delayed by more than an hour following a suspected Ukrainian cyber attack on the forum's systems.

Update 06/17/22, 10 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with further quotes from Putin's speech and a new image.