Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday admitted that Western sanctions have created “problems” in the Russian economy, but he continued to defend his invasion of Ukraine.
After a reporter asked him about Western sanctions on Russia, Putin responded, as translated, that “the blitzkrieg that our ill-wishers counted on, of course, did not take place. It is obvious. Our financial system and industry are working rhythmically.”
“Of course, there are problems, otherwise the rate would not have been raised by the Central Bank to 20 percent,” Putin told reporters during a press conference with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday.
Russia’s Central Bank more than doubled interest rates to 20% in February after sanctions were first announced following the invasion of Ukraine. The rates were lowered on Friday to 17%, Reuters reported.
“But, as you know, the Central Bank decided to lower the key rate, and, in general, this is in line with the macroeconomic parameters that have developed,” he added. “It turned out that the Russian economy and the financial system are quite firmly on their feet.”
Stressing his optimism, Putin said, “It is also obvious that the Russian economy is working quite stably and efficiently. I won’t repeat everything. You can see it well yourself: the dollar exchange rate has returned to the parameters before the start of the operation, and so on. Although in the medium and long term, the risks may increase.”
One US dollar equals about 85 Russian rubles as of Tuesday, according to Yahoo! Finance. On Feb. 23, one day before Russia invaded Ukraine, one dollar traded for 79 rubles. At its worst on March 8, one dollar equaled 141 rubles.