May 29, 2022

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Lavrov says Russia is building new partnerships in the face of “the West’s total hybrid war.”

Lavrov says Russia is building new partnerships in the face of "the West's total hybrid war."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to the media during a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 13, 2022. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Posted via Reuters

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  • Lavrov: Sanctions show that no one is safe from Western ‘piracy’
  • Russia seeks allies to join it, reduce economic dependence on the United States
  • The letter cites China, India and Arab countries as key partners

LONDON (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that Moscow had been the target of an “all-out hybrid war” from the West but would resist sanctions by forging deeper partnerships with China, India and others.

In a speech on the 80th day since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lavrov referred to a barrage of sanctions imposed by the West in an attempt to portray Russia as the target, not the perpetrator, of aggression.

“The collective West has declared an all-out mixed war on us and it is difficult to predict how long all of this will continue, but it is clear that the consequences will be felt by everyone without exception,” he said.

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“We did everything to avoid outright clash – but now that the challenge has been dropped, we of course accept it. We are no strangers to sanctions: they have always been there in one form or another.”

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Read more Sanctions have been imposed on Russia’s major corporations, banks and political elite to punish them for a war that has killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted millions, disrupted energy markets, and exacerbated the global food crisis by raising the prices of grain, cooking oils and fertilizers. Read more

In his speech, Lavrov laid out the strategy that Moscow pins its hopes on as it tries to mitigate damage to its economy and build new markets elsewhere.

He cited the sanctions, which included the confiscation of nearly half of Russia’s $640 billion in foreign reserves, as evidence that no one was safe from expropriation and “state piracy,” and of the countries’ need to reduce economic dependence on the United States. and its allies.

“Not only Russia but many other countries are working to reduce dependence on the US dollar, technology and Western markets,” he said, without providing evidence.

He said the West’s efforts to isolate Russia were doomed to failure. Russia’s relations with China have been the best ever, and it has been developing a distinctive strategic partnership with India.

Having just returned from a trip to the Middle East, he also noted the importance of relations with Egypt, Algeria and the Gulf states, as well as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In one example of a sanctions-driven export hub, Russia sold twice as much crude to India in the two months following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 as it did in all of 2021, as Western countries cut purchases of Russian oil and Indian refiners seized the opportunity to buy it at a discount. Read more

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But despite Russia’s insistence that it can thrive under sanctions, its economy is on track to contract by between 8.8% and 12.4%, according to an Economy Ministry document seen by Reuters, and will not return to its pre-invasion size before 2026. Read more

Annual consumer inflation accelerated in April to 17.83%, the highest level since 2002. Read more

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Mark Trevelyan reports. Editing by Christina Fincher

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