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Putin says ‘Thank God’ some foreign companies have left Russia

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view on the Kievsky railway station and skyscrapers of Moskva-City business centre in Moscow, Russia April 29, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Thursday that Western sanctions against Russia were disrupting its supply chains, but said they would not succeed in cutting it off from technology.

Speaking by video link to leaders of ex-Soviet states, Putin said Russia would keep working to find substitutes for foreign imports no longer available to it, even though this was not a “panacea for all ills”.

Russia has become increasingly isolated from the West since invading Ukraine three months ago in what it calls a “special military operation”. Scores of companies have left the country for good and unprecedented Western sanctions have targeted its economy and businesses.

“Representatives of our businesses face problems, of course, especially in the field of supply chains and transport. But nevertheless, everything can be adjusted, everything can be built in a new way,” Putin said in televised comments.

“Not without losses at a certain stage, but it helps us in a way become stronger. In any case, we are definitely acquiring new competencies, we are starting to concentrate our economic, financial and administrative resources on breakthrough areas.”

Putin said the exit of some foreign companies from the Russian market might be for the best.

He acknowledged Russia’s need for access to foreign technology, adding: “We are not going to cut ourselves off from this – they want to squeeze us out a bit, but in the modern world this is simply unrealistic, impossible.”

He did not elaborate on how Russia would find ways to maintain access to western components and software.

Apparently referring to the United States, he said no “world gendarme” would succeed in using sanctions to weaken countries like Russia, China and many others that were pursuing what he called an independent policy.

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