TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Friday touted Russia’s prospects at the country’s main international economic forum despite tough international sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Western officials and investors stayed away from this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which for decades has been Russia’s premier event for attracting foreign capital and is sometimes compared to the Davos World Economic Forum.
The Kremlin earlier banned journalists from countries it considers „unfriendly” from Wednesday until Saturday. Moscow has imposed that designation on several countries, including the United States, Canada, European Union members and Australia, over sanctions imposed over the fighting in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, Putin said at the plenary session of the forum, „We have not returned to the path of self-isolation. On the contrary – we have expanded contacts with reliable and responsible partners in countries and regions that act as machines, drivers. Today’s world economy. I want to emphasize again: these are future markets; everyone clearly understands it. .
Officials did not provide a list of participating foreign businesses, but a schedule of more than 100 panel discussions showed the majority of speakers were from Russia.
While one of the panel sessions listed in the plan promoted Russia as a „global technology hub,” Moscow tacitly acknowledged Moscow’s growing economic isolation since its troops moved into Ukraine last February.
Putin also strongly supported Russia sending troops into Ukraine and repeated his claims that the Ukrainian government was a neo-Nazi regime, despite President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Jewish roots.
„My Jewish friends, Zelensky is not a Jew, but a shame to the Jewish people,” Putin said.
„Oddany rozwiązywacz problemów. Przyjazny hipsterom praktykant bekonu. Miłośnik kawy. Nieuleczalny introwertyk. Student.