MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia is losing around US$40 billion (32 billion euros) per year due to Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, its finance minister said Monday although President Vladimir Putin dismissed the economic damage as “not fatal”.
“We are losing around $40 billion per year due to geopolitical sanctions,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in a speech at an economic forum in Moscow, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
He added that falling oil prices were causing Russia economic damage of “some $90 to $100 billion per year”.
The European Union and the United States have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict, sending the ruble plunging and inflation soaring.
The embargoes targeting Russia’s key energy, defence and finance sectors have been com-pounded by sliding crude prices.
But Putin insisted that the plunging ruble would only hurt the Russian economy “to an extent, but not (cause) fatal” damage.
In Sunday’s interview with TASS news agency, he stood firm over the Ukraine issue, saying that Russia is “right” and that its “strength comes from the truth”. Putin also rubbished a Western blacklist of Russian officials and businessmen from his inner circle, saying that the decision to impose sanctions on those individuals in an attempt to hurt him was based on a “false premise”.