“Western sanctions have failed to isolate Russia” said the Russian president, Vladimir Putin speaking to International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg and launched a personal attack on the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Specifically, referring to the Jewish origin of the Ukrainian president, Putin said that “he is not a Jew” and called him “shame on the Jewish people”, once again accusing Ukraine that is in the hands of neo-Nazis to justify his armed enterprise there.

“I had many Jewish friends from my childhood. And they say that Zelensky is not a Jew, but a shame to the Jewish people. This is not funny”he said and insisted again that one of Russia’s main goals is the de-Nazification of Ukraine.

“We have every right to consider the goal of de-Nazification of Ukraine that we have set as one of the main ones.”

Putin said Western sanctions not only did not isolate his country but instead led it to “expands” its trade with “markets of the future” and praise the new deals it has made with Asia, the Middle East and Latin America – calling them “trustworthy, responsible partners”.

At the same time, he argued that Ukraine will soon exhaust its own military equipment and will be completely dependent on the material supplied by Western countries. He also denied that Ukraine had made progress in its counterattack and stressed that it had “no chance” against the Russian military.

Optimistic about the Russian economy

Vladimir Putin also referred to the course of the Russian economy. Said that “overall, the public finances [της Ρωσίας] are balanced”but admitted that Moscow needed to spend more on defense to boost its security.

“We have to do this to protect the sovereignty of our country,” he said. “I must say that, in general, it is justified, including from an economic point of view”Putin argued.

Speaking in St Petersburg, Vladimir Putin says he believes Russia’s economy could grow by as much as 2% of GDP this year as the country grapples with Western sanctions imposed since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Russia is not “closing the doors” to overseas businesses

Since Russia invaded Ukraine more than 1,000 international companies – including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, H&M and Adidas – have stopped doing business in the country.

Putin told the International Economic Forum that Russia is not “closing the door” to overseas businesses considering a return.

He then promised to treat foreign businesses that continue to operate in Russia as “our own”.

“But we will certainly bear in mind for the future the strange behavior of some of these partners,” Putin added. “And we will certainly put the interest of domestic businesses as our first priority” he concluded.