Russia to come out with full health check, minimizes sanctions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives an annual press conference on Russian diplomacy in 2021, in Moscow on January 14, 2022.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday adopted a tone of defiance over the escalating economic sanctions, saying his country would recover from the crisis with a “complete bill of health” and vowing never to rely on Western partners again .

Sergei Lavrov told CNBC that Russia could manage its economy on its own as the pariah state is increasingly isolated by international powers seeking to thwart President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“As far as our economic problems are concerned, we will sort them out,” Lavrov told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Turkey after his talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Lavrov noted that Russia has, at various other times, managed periods of isolation and economic hardship.

The longtime Russian minister added that he no longer had the illusion that the West could be trusted, accusing it of treason.

“I assure you: we will come out of this crisis with a full psychological health check and a full health check on our awareness. We will have no illusions that the West could be a reliable partner,” he said. Lavrov via translation.

“We will do everything to never, in any way, be dependent on the West in areas of our lives that are of decisive importance for our people,” he said.

It is unclear how Russia seeks to operate its economy independently in the future.

Russia’s economy has fallen to its knees in the two weeks since the start of the war in Ukraine as Western allies seek economic ways to pressure Putin to end the conflict.

The Russian ruble continued to slide this week, hitting new record lows amid new financial exclusions, while trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange remains largely suspended. Western sanctions are aimed at crashing the Russian economy, and many economists suggest that is likely to work.

The Kremlin said on Thursday that the country’s economy was “in a state of shock” following an “unprecedented” economic war.

Meanwhile, the pressure on Putin’s elite inner circle continues to escalate, with Britain adding Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich and six others to a growing list of oligarchs facing asset seizures under UK, EU and US sanctions.

Lavrov said Thursday that the ongoing sanctions run counter to apparent Western democratic values, citing that as another example of a lack of trust.

“Who’s heard of private property rights being trampled on with the snap of a finger? Who’s heard of the presumption of innocence, the mainstay of the legal system in the West, being simply ignored and most seriously violated?” he declared.

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