Western leaders should ‘stop playing the fool’ – Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 21, 2023. ©  Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev

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Russia will not collapse, so it would be better if the US and its allies changed their policy, the president has said

Western nations that expect Russia to collapse are misguided and should instead let their economies benefit from cooperation, President Vladimir Putin said at a government meeting on Thursday.

The US and its allies have targeted Russia with unprecedented sanctions in a bid to punish Moscow for the Ukraine conflict. The country has largely adapted to the pressure however, according to the Russian government and Western analysis.

Putin raised the issue during a meeting of the Council on Strategic Development and National Projects, during which he described Russia’s booming commercial ties with non-Western nations. He noted, however, that Moscow is not closing the door on the West.

“It’s time for them [Western leaders] to stop playing the fool and waiting for us to collapse. Everyone realizes by now that if they want to benefit from cooperation with Russia, they should do so,” the president said.

Western nations have a choice between following “ephemeral considerations” motivating them to seek Russia’s destruction and “the interests of their own nations and peoples,” which require cooperation based on a “new foundation of a multipolar world,” Putin stated.

Moscow has weathered Western economic attacks by reorienting its economy toward trade with countries that declined to join the Washington-led sanctions campaign, including Asian powerhouses China and India.

Russia has also taken measures to decrease reliance on Western-controlled financial institutions, switching to alternative payment methods and national currencies in commerce. During a visit to Beijing on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the US dollar has almost fully been replaced in trade with China.

Meanwhile, EU nations have seen energy prices surge after rejecting Russian supplies in order to supposedly reduce dependence and cut Moscow’s profits. In particular, Russian pipeline natural gas has been replaced with more expensive liquified natural gas (LNG), sourced primarily from the US and Qatar. Russia is also among Europe’s LNG suppliers and has made record deliveries this year, according to a report by Kommersant earlier this month.

Some factory owners in Germany, the EU’s leading economy, have been forced to shut down due to increased operational costs. The Credit reform credit agency reported this month that it expects 18,100 German companies to file for insolvency this year, marking a 23.5% increase on 2022. RT


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