President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will not compromise on its core interests to win a respite from Western sanctions.
Putin admitted that the U.S. and the European Union sanctions have cost Russia an estimated $50 billion since 2014, but he claimed that the EU nations have suffered even greater damage due to the restrictions.
Speaking during Thursday’s live call-in show, the Russian leader said that the sanctions have encouraged Russia to launch its own production of ship engines and other key industrial products and develop its agricultural sector.
He said Russia’s agricultural exports topped $25 billion last year and will keep growing.
Putin charged that the Western sanctions represent an attempt to curb Russia’s growing power, adding that the U.S. trade restrictions against China serve a similar purpose.