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Putin Tells Russian Industrial Leaders Nation Has Prepared for Sanctions

© Sputnik / Maxim BlinovMoscow, skyline view
Moscow, skyline view - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.02.2022
Early on Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military action to "demilitarise" Ukraine, calling the situation "life and death" for Russia after years of NATO encirclement.
Putin reiterated that point on Thursday afternoon, saying there was "no other way" to defend Russia other than to launch the operation.
Speaking to leading representatives of Russia's business community on Thursday, Putin said that although the meeting had been planned in advance, it was still taking place "under non-standard conditions".

"What is happening is a forced measure", Putin said of the military operations in Ukraine. "They left us no chance to do otherwise. Security risks created such that it was impossible to respond by other means".

Putin said that the Kremlin had analysed the geopolitical risks of new sanctions by the West, but could not forecast all potential impacts.

"We all, and you too, understand the world we live in, and prepared in one way or another for what is happening now in terms of restrictions and sanctions policy", Putin said.

The Moscow Stock Exchange has already announced that Friday morning sessions for stock and futures trading had been cancelled.
"Of course, the current geopolitical situation leads to the fact that Russian business will have to work in difficult conditions, taking into account restrictions of various kinds. But I would like to confirm that not only the state, the economy as a whole has learned to survive crises, but also that since 2014, Russian business has learned to adapt to crisis phenomena and, moreover, has learned to solve development problems", Alexander Shokhin, head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), said at the meeting.

"We understand that the new sanctions will be much tougher than all previous restrictions, they will affect many sectors", Shokhin added, noting that "Russian companies will have to work even more energetically and efficiently, ensure the smooth operation of their enterprises, avoiding job cuts, shortages, price hikes".

"It will be necessary to implement an import substitution strategy, look for new partners in those countries that are ready to continue cooperation, but of course, a lot also depends on the timeliness and success of the government's activities", the RUIE head added.
The US has threatened Russia with sanctions able to crush the Russian economy if it were to take military action inside Ukraine. Following Putin's recognition of the two Donbass republics on Monday, the US, the UK, and Australia imposed a "first tranche" of sanctions targeting Russian state development banks and dealings in Russia's sovereign debt, as well as leading Russian government and social figures.
Speaking separately on Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky both urged that Russia be cut off from the Brussels-based SWIFT bank wire system. However, US President Joe Biden has previously rejected such calls.
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