Putin speaks at forum in Russia's Far East region

6 minute read

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during the plenary session of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia September 7, 2022. Sergey Bobylev/TASS Host Photo Agency/Handout via REUTERS

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  • This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed participants of an economic forum in the eastern city of Vladivostok on Wednesday.

Putin spoke in Russian. The quotes below were translated by Reuters.

ON UKRAINE

"We have not lost anything and will not lose anything. In terms of what we have gained, I can say that the main gain has been the strengthening of our sovereignty."

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"Of course, a certain polarization is taking place, both in the world and within the country, but I believe that this will only be beneficial, because everything that is unnecessary, harmful and everything that prevents us from moving forward will be rejected."

"Russia decided, after repeated attempts to resolve this issue peacefully, to respond tit-for-tat, the way our potential adversary acted ... All our actions are aimed at helping the people who live in Donbas. This is our duty and we will fulfil it to the end. This will ultimately strengthen our country from within, as well as its foreign policy positions."

ON WESTERN DOMINANCE

"Other challenges of a global nature that threaten the whole world have replaced the pandemic. I am speaking of the West's sanctions fever, with its brazen, aggressive attempt to impose models of behaviour on other countries, to deprive them of their sovereignty and subordinate them to their will.

"There is nothing unusual in this. This is the policy that the West has collectively pursued for decades.

"Western countries are striving to maintain a former world order that is beneficial only to them, to force everyone to live according to the infamous rules that they themselves invented and regularly violate, rules they are constantly changing for themselves depending on the current circumstances."

ON ECONOMIC TIES WITH THE WEST

"In the spring, many foreign corporations rushed to leave Russia, believing that our country would suffer more from this than others. But now we are seeing how production and jobs in Europe are closing one after another. One of the main reasons for this, of course, is the severance of business ties with Russia. The competitiveness of European enterprises is declining because EU authorities themselves are depriving them of available raw materials, energy resources and sales markets."

"In an attempt to resist the course of history, Western countries are undermining the key pillars of the world economic system, built over centuries. Before our very eyes, confidence in the dollar, euro and pound sterling as currencies in which it is possible to make settlements, to keep in reserves and denominate assets has been lost. We are moving away step by step from the use of such unreliable currencies that discredit themselves."

ON GAS

"First of all, our energy resources should be directed towards the development of our own country. This also applies to all primary energy sources and mineral resources. But we have so many of them that we are ready to meet the growing needs of everyone who wants to work with us."

"Having received natural gas from Russia for decades, the economies of Europe's leading countries had obvious competitive advantages on a global scale. If they think they do not need such advantages, this does not bother us at all because the demand for energy resources in the world is very high."

ON PROPOSAL TO CAP OIL AND GAS PRICES

"This is another (example of) stupidity. This is another non-market solution that has no prospects. All administrative restrictions in global trade only lead to imbalances and higher prices. What is happening in European markets is the result of the work of European specialists and the European Commission. We have always insisted that prices must be formed based on long-term contracts and be tied to a market category such as prices for oil and oil products."

"Will there be any political decisions that contradict the contracts? Yes, we just won't fulfil them. We will not supply anything at all if it contradicts our interests."

"We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil - we will not supply anything."

ON NORD STREAM 1 AND NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINES

"Nord Steam 1 is practically closed now. There is an oil leak there - it's a possibly explosive situation, a fire hazard. The turbine cannot work. Give us a turbine and we will turn on Nord Stream 1 tomorrow. But they don't give us anything."

"In Germany we are seeing demonstrations demanding that Nord Stream 2 be launched. We share the demands made by German consumers. We are ready to do it tomorrow, all you have to do is press a button. Well, we didn't impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2. They did it under pressure from the Americans."

ON GRAIN EXPORTS FROM UKRAINE

"I met with the leaders of the African Union, with the leaders of African countries, and promised them that we would do everything to ensure their interests and facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain."

"Once again, they (Western leaders) simply deceived developing countries and continue to deceive them. With this approach, the scale of food (supply) issues in the world will only increase, unfortunately. To our great regret, this can lead to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe."

"It may be worth considering how to limit the export of grain and other food along this route. I will definitely consult the President of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, on this topic because it was he and I who worked out a mechanism for the export of Ukrainian grain first of all, I repeat, in order to help the poorest countries."

ON RUSSIAN-HELD ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR PLANT IN UKRAINE

"We control the station, our servicemen are stationed there, are we shooting at ourselves or what? It's complete nonsense."

ON THE RUSSIAN ECONOMY

"Russia is facing economic, financial and technological aggression from the West. There is no other way to describe it. Russia's foreign exchange and financial markets have stabilized, inflation is declining. The unemployment rate is at a historic low, less than 4%.

Forecasts and assessments of the economy, including by entrepreneurs, are now much more optimistic than they were at the beginning of spring. The economic situation has stabilized in general.

However, we are of course seeing issues in a number of industries and regions, at some enterprises in the country, especially those involved with exports to Europe or that supplied their products there."

ON NEW BRITISH PRIME MINISTER LIZ TRUSS

"In the UK, the procedure for electing the (leader) is far from (abiding by) democratic principles. It takes place within the framework of the party that won the previous parliamentary elections. The people of Great Britain don't take part, in this instance, in the change of government. The ruling elites there have their arrangements.

We know the Tories' (Conservatives') position on these questions, including on relations with Russia. It's their business how to build relations with the Russian Federation. Our business is to defend our own interests and we will do that consistently, let no one be in any doubt about that."

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Reporting by Reuters; editing by Angus MacSwan and Philippa Fletcher

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