Putin humiliated as ally admits efforts to make up trade losses ‘completely failed

Russia: Sanctions have 'put pressure' on Putin says Fisher

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In the weeks and months leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western intelligence reports warned Moscow had succeeded in making its economy “sanction-proof”. But a lawmaker from the country has now highlighted some of the difficulties the response to the “special military operation” has brought.

Senator Andrei Klishas suggested the Kremlin has struggled most with making up for Russia’s import losses in the wake of the invasion.

As translated by Francis Scarr of the BBC, he went so far as to claim the country’s import substitution programme had “completely failed”.

He added: “Apart from rousing reports from sectoral ministries, there’s nothing.

“People can see it both in consumer goods and many other areas.”

The message was posted on Klishas’s Telegram channel.

By the time it had been seen by more than 23,000 users, 284 had shown their agreement with a “thumbs up”, compared to just 24 who responded with a “thumbs down”.

This is not the first time a Russian leader has expressed their surprise over sanctions imposed by the West.

In March, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov admitted he failed to see the imposition of sanctions on Russia’s central bank, preventing Moscow from getting hold of much of its own money (and Russian civilians from theirs), coming.

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He said: “When they [froze] the central bank reserves, nobody who was predicting what sanctions the West would pass could have pictured that.”

Lavrov described the move as “thievery”.

Reports also suggest a serious number of Kremlin insiders are concerned about the long-term impacts the ongoing war will have on Russia.

Some are coming to the conclusion the war was a “catastrophic mistake”, according to Bloomberg.

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They informed the paper, however, that they are unwilling to raise their concerns to Putin directly because they understand there is “no chance” the President will change course.

Klishas last month signalled that the countries which have sanctioned Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine (these are sometimes branded “unfriendly” nations) will be punished.

He said Russia’s parliament was preparing to “introduce amendments to the Criminal Code for the implementation of restrictive measures (sanctions) imposed by foreign states on the territory of the Russian Federation”.

The lawmaker did not specify what form such punishments would take.

Western leaders have also already acknowledged the sanctions they have chosen to impose will hurt their own economies.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss conceded in February that the country will “have to undergo some economic hardship as a result of our sanctions”.

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