MOSCOW: A defiant Russia said on Monday (Feb 28) that it could ride out Western sanctions over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine as President Vladimir Putin huddled with officials to discuss the economic turmoil of the five-day-old war.
“The Western sanctions on Russia are hard, but our country has the necessary potential to compensate the damage,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
He added that “today Putin will be working on economic questions” and meeting key ministers.
“The economic reality has significantly changed, let’s put it this way,” he said, adding that Russia had taken steps to prepare for it.
“Russia has been systematically preparing for quite a long time for possible sanctions, including the heaviest sanctions that we are now facing,” he said.
The severe financial punishment imposed by the West has sent the rouble into a tailspin, with the Russian currency down 20 per cent against the dollar in midday trading.
The Russian central bank more than doubled its main interest rate to 20 per cent to try to prop it up.
Moscow’s stock market remained closed for the day, meanwhile.