West's economic blitzkrieg against Russia has failed - Putin
MOSCOW. April 18 (Interfax) - The West's attempt to wage an economic blitzkrieg against Russia has failed, and the initiators of the sanctions have suffered from them themselves, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"The intention was to quickly shatter the financial-economic situation in our country and provoke panic on the markets, the banking system's collapse, and major shortages of goods in stores," Putin said at a conference dealing with the socioeconomic situation in Russia on Monday.
"We can say confidently now that this policy in relation to Russia has failed, and the economic blitzkrieg strategy has proved unsuccessful," he said.
"Moreover, the sanctions have left their mark on their initiators themselves, I mean growing inflation and unemployment, the worsening economic trends in the U.S. and European countries, a decline in the living standards of Europeans, and the devaluation of their savings," he said.
"Russia has withstood this unprecedented pressure. The situation is stabilizing, the ruble exchange rate has returned to the level of the first half of February and is currently determined by the objectively strong balance of payments. In the first quarter, a surplus of the current balance of payments topped $58 billion, which is a historical maximum," Putin said.
"Cash foreign currencies are returning to the country's banking system, and the volumes of individual deposits are growing," he said.
Putin invited the conference participants to discuss what other decisions are necessary in the current situation to support the domestic business community, industries, and citizens.