Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the sanctions some G20 nations have placed against Russia are “against the principles” of international law.
In an interview with Russian media, he said that the US is “crudely violating” the treaties of the international trading system that it created.
“This is harmful and, of course, it does certain damage to us, but it is also harmful to the United States, because as a matter of fact the entire system of international economic relations is being undermined. I do hope, and I proceed from the understanding that in the final count the awareness of this will prevail and bygones will be bygones,” Putin said.
On the eve of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Putin accused those governments imposing the sanctions of “living from election to election” and being unable to take “a broader perspective”.
He warned that the EU sanctions on Russia will end up costing jobs in the volatile region.
“Our joint work with the Federal Republic of Germany maintains some 300,000 jobs there. If there are no contracts, these jobs may be lost. True, some new bearings can be found, but it still remains to be seen what these bearings are. It is not so easy,” he told Itar Tass.
Speaking on financial crises, he intimated that Russia has sufficient industry and reserves to deal with the most severe of downturns, seemingly countering claims that the Russian economy is in free-fall.
He said: “A country like ours finds the situation easier to cope with. Why? Because we’re producers of oil and gas and we handle our foreign exchange/gold reserves and government reserves sparingly. Our reserves are big enough and they enable us to feel assuredness over our ability to stay committed to social obligations and to keep all the budgetary processes and the entire economy within a certain framework.”
With Russian banks and companies being banned from western capital markets, Moscow is likely to have to dig deep to ensure they have cash-flow, as bonds and loans reach their maturity. Those in the oil sector will likely be hit particularly hard, given the fact that crude oil dropped below $80 per barrel today.
Putin said if he was the CEO of Rosneft, “I would request money too, why not?” He was referring to Igor Sechen, the Rosneft CEO, requesting funds from Russia’s National Welfare Fund. However, he said Russia’s strengthening energy relationship with China will help Rosneft ride the storm.
He intimated that government funds will be spent in infrastructure, mentioning several large railway projects and port and airport development.
Putin also accused the US of blocking the G20’s mandate to make the IMF more inclusive for developing economies.
He said: “The very fact that the US Congress has refused to pass this law indicates that it is the United States that drops out of the general context of resolving the problems facing the international community. One little thing: nobody cares to recall this. Some capitalise on their world mass media monopoly to hush up this information, to produce an impression it ostensibly does not exist.”
Putin said that the G20 talks should be viewed as an opportunity to “move the centre of gravity of our conversation” away from politics and towards economics. He called for governments to pursue greater equality and distribute the global supply of capital more evenly.