Putin on Ukraine, COVID and the Russian economy


Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

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MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave his annual news conference.

Putin spoke in Russian. The quotes below were translated into English by Reuters.

ON POSSIBLE CONFLICT WITH UKRAINE

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“This is not our choice, we do not want this.”

“We have to think about ensuring our security prospects not just for today and next week but for the near future.”

“We just directly posed the question that there should be no further NATO movement to the east, the ball is in their court, they should answer us with something. In this regard, I would like to stress that on the whole we have seen a positive reaction so far, our American partners tell us that they are ready to start this discussion.”

ON VACCINES

“…I am talking about the need for mutual recognition of vaccines and for these vaccines to be spread around the world as quickly as possible in as large a quantity as possible. Otherwise we will not be able to cope with this problem globally, humanity will live with it all the time.”

ON INFLATION & RATE HIKES

“(Inflation) of 8% is a lot and we of course need to return to the target, to 4%.”

“I know the real (economy) sector’s dissatisfaction with raising rates, but if this is not done, we could have the same problem Turkey has. This is a serious issue and a serious challenge.

“Of course, these instruments need to be used carefully, but the central bank carries out independent policy. This may seem strange to you, but I do not interfere in the central bank’s work, but I assess it as positive and believe that in principle we are finding the right balance.”

ON ECONOMY

“GDP growth this year is expected to be 4.5%.”

“The unemployment rate has become lower, by the end of the year it may slightly increase to 4.4%. This is a very good indicator of the economy as a whole.”

ON COVID-19 IMMUNITY

“Collective immunity today in Russia is 59.4%… But this is not enough, we need collective immunity of around 80%. Hopefully, next year, somewhere at least by the end of the first quarter or in the second quarter, we will reach this level.”

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Reporting by Moscow newsroom; Compiled by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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