Russia faced the possibility of economic "collapse" as a result of sanctions imposed on it by the West, the Kremlin has said. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)


Western sanctions put Russia at risk of ‘economic collapse’, Kremlin admits


Russia faced the possibility of economic “collapse” as a result of sanctions imposed on it by the West, the Kremlin has said.

The statement follows the deployment of numerous punitive packages against the country by the US and European Union. The latter is now readying its 12th package of sanctions against Moscow.

Speaking to Russian media, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the damage sanctions have wrought on Russia’s economy, noting that the government has battled to prevent economic catastrophe.

“There was a threat of a collapse, we really had to mobilise all resources and internal forces in order to prevent this collapse,” the state-owned TASS wire service reported him as saying.

Peskov said President Vladimir Putin’s Russian Government had now managed to avoid such economic disaster through what he said was hard work and good decision-making.

“No country in the world has ever faced, and theoretically no country in the world is able to withstand such a blow,” he argued.

“Thanks to the rather insightful and wise decisions of the country’s leadership, thanks to the titanic work of the Government, it was possible to reach a plateau, stabilise [the economic situation] and then, in an absolutely unexpected way, enter a growth trend.”

He added that Russia now had to work to keep its economy expanding, saying that the current growth rate of 3 per cent would ultimately be “insufficient”.

“It must be higher, everyone understands this,” he said. “We need to compensate for many gaps.”

While Peskov’s comments are likely an attempt to boost Putin’s popularity ahead of the country’s 2024 Presidential election, it also appears to show that efforts to sabotage Russia’s war economy have been having some effect.

Europe has prepared almost a dozen sanctions packages against Moscow, yet some in the West have expressed doubt as to whether the measures were having any real impact.

At above 3 per cent, Russia’s growth is in direct contrast to the situation in Germany, which is expected to see its economy contract by 0.3 per cent in 2023.

The impression that economic sanctions are having at least some effect may still be of little comfort to Ukraine, with the country finding itself out of the limelight as attention shifts to Israel’s war against Hamas.

Kyiv now fears its Western allies have diluted their commitments. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that his country is seeing a serious reduction in artillery-shell deliveries since the terror attacks in the Middle East on October 7.

“Focus is shifting because of the Middle East – and other reasons,” he warned.

“Without the [West’s] support, we will move backwards.”