Russia forges new partnerships in face of West’s ‘total hybrid war’, says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses the media at a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 13 May 2022. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via REUTERS

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  • Lavrov says sanctions show no one is safe from western ‘piracy’
  • Russia seeks allies to join, reduce economic dependence on US
  • 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 “total hybrid war” by the West but would resist sanctions by building deeper partnerships with China, India and others.

In a speech marking 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 us all-out hybrid war and it’s hard to predict how long this will all last, but it’s clear the repercussions will be felt by everyone without exception,” he said.

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“We did everything we could to avoid a direct confrontation – but now that the challenge has been met, of course we accept it. Sanctions are no stranger to us: they were almost always there in one form or another.”

Sanctions against Russia’s top companies, banks and political elite have been imposed to punish Russia for a war that has killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted millions, disrupted energy markets and exacerbated a global food crisis by driving up prices for grain, cooking oil and fertilizer. read more

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

He cited the sanctions, including the seizure of nearly half of Russia’s $640 billion in foreign reserves, as proof that no one is safe from expropriation and “state piracy”, and of the need for countries to reduce economic dependence on the United States. . and his allies.

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

Efforts by the West to isolate Russia were doomed to fail, he said. Russia’s relations with China were the best they had ever been and it developed a privileged strategic partnership with India.

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

In an example of a sanctions-driven export hub, Russia sold twice as much crude oil to India in the two months after the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 as it did in all of 2021, as Western countries cut purchases of Russian oil and Indian refineries. seized the opportunity to buy it at a discount. read more

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

Annual consumer inflation accelerated to 17.83% in April, the highest 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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