Russia plans to withstand the Western sanctions and complete its goal in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told CNN Thursday.
Asked by about Russia’s intention to occupy parts of Ukrainian territories in Odesa, Kharkiv, and Kherson, Peskov said that the decision would depend on the “will of local people.”
“The number one goal is to protect the people of Donbas and Luhansk from those who are shelling Donetsk, for example, right now, and killing civilians there. And have been doing that for the last eight to nine years,” he said.
“As for other territories and regions of Ukraine, you know, the more our military is cleaning up the territory from those nationalistic regiments, the more people are welcoming them and the more people declaring their desire to discontinue their future life with the modern regime in Kyiv,” he claimed.
Peskov said Russia poses no threat to the Baltic states and Finland, which announced its intention join NATO last month, breaking the decades-long military non-alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We are sure that the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO, it won’t bring any additional benefits to the security of the European continent. On the opposite, it will bring additional tension,” he said.
The spokesperson admitted that Moscow is not in a “comfortable position” following the “unprecedented” economic sanctions by the West against Russia but claimed that “the crucial effect” of the sanctions that the West had hoped for “didn’t happen.”
“We are now even feeling a little bit better than one would think,” Peskov said, adding, “Of course, we understand our problems, we understand that in a very short time we will have to compensate for the quite a significant decrease in more than 40%-45% in imports.”
He said Russia is planning on a “very serious boost” to its domestic production and infrastructure.
“In order to reorganize imports, we have to reorganize the direction of imports. To compensate for the western direction, by increasing imports from the eastern direction,” Peskov said hinting towards increasing imports from Asian countries. “All of this is quite possible because our world is so big and so rich.”