Russian President Vladimir Putin has faced one setback after another since his troops invaded Ukraine. His military has made unsteady gains on the battlefield. His country's economy has been hit by sanctions. Now, he is lashing out against critics and says Russia will outlast its enemies.
Putin made the remarks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
He accused the West of waging a smear campaign and said it is trying to undermine trust in Russian businesses and confidence in the ruble.
Putin said Western nations intended to use sanctions to crush the Russian economy by destroying logistics chains, forcing Western companies from the market, freezing assets -- hitting Russian industry, finance, and living standards. He added that they have failed to accomplish those goals.
Putin said skyrocketing food prices in the West prove that the sanctions are harming the very people who imposed them. He added that Russia still has the ability to increase exports of food and fertilizer and that it has never cut back on exports.
He stressed again that Russian forces are winning the day in Ukraine. He guaranteed that they will achieve all the goals of what he calls the special military operation.
Russian troops have been focused on gaining ground in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.
They have been trying to overcome resistance in the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The regional governor said a Russian airstrike hit a medical facility and killed four people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the capital, Kyiv. He said after the meeting that Putin needs to pay a steep price for the invasion and that Russia must compensate Ukraine for all the losses suffered by its people, its communities, and its businesses. He added that it must be held accountable for the food crisis it has caused.
Zelenskyy said he and Johnson talked about Ukraine's urgent need for heavy weapons. Johnson said he intends to help intensify sanctions on Russia and pledged to strengthen support for Ukraine.