“Russia will sink into economic, financial and technological decline” (Von der Leyen)

Visiting kyiv on Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen predicted a bleak future for Russia. According to her, the country led by Vladimir Putin is threatened with “decomposition” by increasingly severe sanctions, unlike Ukraine, which has a “European future”. In that sense, she joins Joe Biden, who on Thursday assured that the sanctions “Yerasing 15 years of economic progress in Russia” and what were they going “stifling (its) ability to grow for years.”

“Russia will sink into economic, financial and technological decline, while Ukraine marches towards a European future,” he said during a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Statements that come as the EU and the G7 have taken new sanctions against Moscow, hitting in particular for the first time the Russian energy sector, on which they are highly dependent.

Coal embargo: EU hits Russian energy sector for the first time

Return of the European diplomatic representation to kyiv

“Your fight is also our fight. Today I am here in kyiv with you to send you a very strong message: the EU is on your side. We are on your side,” he added.

Brussels will soon reopen its diplomatic representation in kyiv, after having temporarily transferred it to Poland at the beginning of the Russian invasion. Presenting this initiative as a means to provide greater support to the Ukrainian government and people, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, remained in kyiv to assess the conditions for the return of European diplomatic personnel.

Application for EU membership

As Ukraine seeks EU membership, Ursula von der Leyen hopes present “from this summer Ukraine’s candidacy for the European Council”.

“It usually takes years for the European Council to accept a request, but Ukraine did it in a week or two and I want to move in that direction as quickly as possible,” she said, indicating on the train that took her to kyiv. according to Reuters.

Outraged by the Boutcha massacre (“Our humanity was shattered in Boutcha”) and calling the death of around fifty people in an attack on a train station in Kramatorsk a few hours earlier “appalling”, the Commission’s chairman explained that the European Union was mobilizing “its economic power to impose a very, very high price on (Vladimir) Putin.”

“I am deeply convinced that Ukraine will win this war, that democracy will win this war,” she said, promising European investment to rebuild Ukraine.

“We will work together with Ukraine to rebuild Ukraine and that means massive investments and reforms and that will shape and forge the path to the European Union,” he promised.

Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “personally grateful” for the five rounds of sanctions imposed on Russia, but recalled that “it was not enough.”

Moscow recognizes great difficulties

On Thursday before the Duma, the Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Michoustin, he acknowledged that the sanctions put Russia in great difficulties.

“The current situation could certainly be called the most difficult for Russia in three decades,” he said, adding that “Such sanctions have never been used before. [contre la Russie]even in the darkest hours of the Cold War”.

Russia faces worst situation in 30 years, Russian PM says, even more pessimistic than Biden

“The reality is that the country is sinking into economic, financial and technological isolation,” a senior US administration official told reporters on Thursday. “And, at this rate, it will return to the standard of living of the Soviet period of the 1980s,” he added.

War in Ukraine: “Our sanctions will erase fifteen years of economic progress in Russia” (Joe Biden)

food price inflation

Today, Russian citizens spend an average of 40% of their disposable income on food, about twice as much as before the war, the head of the UN food agency’s liaison office in Russia told Reuters.

Russian government data shows annual food inflation reached 18.75% on April 1, as the economy reels from sanctions imposed on Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

Oleg Kobyakov of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said that many Russian households are now implementing strategies to cope with the crisis, with much of their income going towards buying basic necessities. , like food.

“People put off things like going to college or buying a house. They save in case they lose their job, in case they die,” he said.

The average European household spends 12% of its income on food, he added, noting that while famine is not looming in Russia, the poorest households will still face higher levels of food insecurity.

To tackle inflation, Moscow plans to regulate the prices of food, medicine and other products and has temporarily banned some agricultural exports. The government could also decide to price almost all staple food exports in rubles. Although these measures have had some impact on consumer price inflation, it is expected to increase further.

(with agencies)