Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday downplayed the seriousness of threats from Western powers in case of an Ukraine invasion. He said the Western countries would impose sanctions on Russia anyhow.
Putin made those remarks after talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Sanctions will be imposed in any case. Whether they have a reason today, for example, in connection with the events in Ukraine, or if there is no such reason - it will be found, because the goal is different, in this case the goal is to slow down the development of Russia and Belarus, Putin explained.
In this scenario, there will always be a reason to introduce certain illegitimate restrictions, and this is nothing more than unfair competition, he added.
This is a gross violation of international law, but those who are now talking about it only care about it when it is advantageous to them, the Russian leader said, according to Tass.
Putin also pointed out Moscow and Minsk have been living in such a paradigm for many, many years, because those in power, [who] consider themselves the masters of today's life, they always interpret everything only in their own favor and neglect the interests of other [countries].
There is only one way to overcome this state of affairs - to strengthen ourselves from within, and above all, of course, in the economy, the Russian head of state underscored. He also stressed Russia and Belarus needed to help themselves and each other. This is exactly what our meeting today meeting [with Lukashenko] is aimed at, Putin added.
The Russian leader also praised his country's achievements over the part eight years in terms of import substitution, which amounted to more than 90% of what they had set out to do, although much remains to be done to increase economic sovereignty.
The Russian leader also said many countries faced the consequences of sanctions, even allies of the United States.