Russia forging new partnerships in face of West’s ‘total hybrid warfare’, says Lavrov

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, May 13, 2022. Russian Foreign Ministry /Handout via REUTERS

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  • Lavrov says sanctions show no one is safe from Western ‘piracy’
  • Russia is looking for allies to join it and reducing its economic dependence on the United States
  • The speech cites China, India and Arab countries as key partners

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that Moscow was the target of a “total 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 invaded Ukraine, Lavrov pointed to the barrage of sanctions imposed by the West in an effort to portray Russia as the target, not the perpetrator, of aggression .

“The collective West has declared an all-out hybrid war on us and it’s hard to predict how long this will last but it’s clear the consequences will be felt by everyone, without exception,” he said.

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“We did everything to avoid a direct confrontation – but now that the challenge has been issued, we of course accept it. We are no strangers to sanctions: they have almost always existed in one form or another.”

The sanctions read more about Russia’s biggest corporations, banks and political elite were imposed to punish it for a war that has killed tens of thousands and uprooted millions, disrupted markets in energy and exacerbated a global food crisis by driving up the prices of grains, cooking oils and fertilizers. Read more

In his speech, Lavrov laid out the strategy on which Moscow is pinning its hopes as it tries to cushion the blow to its economy and create new markets elsewhere.

He cited the sanctions, which included the seizure of almost half of Russia’s $640 billion in foreign exchange reserves, as proof that no one is immune to expropriation and “piracy of State”, and the need for countries to reduce their economic dependence on the United States. and its allies.

“Not only Russia, but many others, are reducing their dependence on the US dollar, technology and Western markets,” he said, without providing evidence.

Western efforts to isolate Russia were doomed, he said. Russia’s relations with China were the best they had ever been and it was developing a privileged strategic partnership with India.

Returning from a trip to the Middle East, he also spoke of the importance of ties with Egypt, Algeria and the Gulf countries, as well as with Asia, Africa and Latin America. .

In an example of a sanctions-induced export pivot, Russia sold twice as much crude oil to India in the two months after its February 24 invasion of Ukraine as it did. throughout 2021, as Western countries reduced their purchases of Russian oil and Indian refiners seized the opportunity to buy it at a discount. Read more

Yet despite Russia’s insistence that it can thrive under sanctions, its economy is on track to shrink between 8.8% and 12.4%, according to an economy ministry document seen by Reuters, and not regain its pre-invasion size until 2026. read more

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

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Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Christina Fincher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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