The Kremlin will respond to what Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov described on Saturday as Western “economic banditry” over the Ukraine conflict, but he stressed that Russia was far too big to be excluded from the world economy.
“This does not mean Russia is isolated,” Peskov told reporters. “The world is too big for Europe and America to isolate a country, and even more so a country as big as Russia. There are many more countries in the world.”
He did not specify Moscow’s response to Western sanctions, but said it would be in line with Russian interests.
Announcing a meeting next week on Russia’s economic situation headed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Peskov added that if the U.S. imposed sanctions on Moscow’s energy exports, it would upset global energy markets.
The US is weighing cuts to Russian oil imports and ways to reduce the impact of such a decision on world supplies after global oil prices surged over 20 percent this week amid concern about supply shortages.
Beyond energy, Western companies continue to suspend operations in Russia, including Apple, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BP, clothing retailer H&M and furnishings store IKEA, while payments company PayPal shut down its services early on Saturday morning.
So far, the rouble has lost a third of its value following unprecedented Western sanctions, freezing much of the central bank’s $640 billion in reserves and barring several banks from global payments system SWIFT.
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Western sanctions were equivalent to war, adding that he wanted a neutral, “demilitarized” and “denazified” Ukraine, adding: “These sanctions that are being imposed are akin to a declaration of war but thank God it has not come to that.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry went on to accuse the UK of “sanctions hysteria” over its threats to crackdown on Russian oligarchs in London, vowing tough but proportionate measures against British interests in Russia.