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 struck a defiant tone in the face of intensifying economic sanctions, saying that his country would recover from the crisis with a “full bill of health” and vowing never again to rely on Western partners.
Sergey Lavrov told CNBC that Russia could handle its economy by itself as the pariah state becomes increasingly isolated by international powers seeking to stymie President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Regarding our economic problems, we’ll sort them out,” Lavrov told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Turkey following his talks with Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Lavrov noted that Russia has at various other points handled periods of economic isolation and difficulty.
The longtime Russian minister added that he was no longer under any illusion that the West could be trusted, accusing it of betrayal.
“I assure you: We will come out of this crisis with a full bill of psychological health and a full bill of health regarding our awareness. We will not be under the slightest illusion that the West could be a reliable partner,” Lavrov said via a translation.
“We will do everything so as never, in any way, to be dependent on the West in those areas of our lives which have a decisive significance for our people,” he said.
It is unclear how Russia seeks to independently operate its economy moving forward.
The Russian economy has fallen to its knees in the two weeks since the start of Ukraine war as Western allies have sought economic means of pressuring Putin to end the conflict.
The Russian ruble continued to tumble lower this week, reaching fresh record lows amid further financial exclusions, while trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange remains largely suspended. The Western sanctions are intended to collapse Russia’s economy, and many economists suggest that it’s likely to work.
The Kremlin on Thursday said that the country’s economy was in “shock” in the wake of “unprecedented” economic war.
Meantime, the pressure on Putin’s elite inner circle continues to heat up, with Britain on Thursday adding Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich and six others to a growing list of oligarchs facing asset seizures under the UK, EU and US sanctions.
Lavrov said Thursday that the ongoing sanctions fly in the face of apparent Western democratic values, citing it as another example of untrustworthiness.
“Whoever heard of private property rights being trampled over by a simple clicking of the fingers? Whoever heard of the presumption of innocence, the pillar of the legal system in the West, is simply ignored and violated most gravely ?,” he said.