Vladimir Putin ‘doesn’t give a s*** about sanctions’, Russian ambassador warns

·2 min read

Vladimir Putin "doesn't give a s***" about the threats of sanctions being imposed by the UK and other Western countries, according to a senior Russian diplomat.

Viktor Tatarintsev, Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, said his country was already under a raft of sanctions and claimed that these measures were even having a positive impact on parts of the economy.

In an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published late on Saturday, Mr Tatarintsev said: "Excuse my language, but we don't give a s*** about all their sanctions.

“We have already had so many sanctions and in that sense, they've had a positive effect on our economy and agriculture.”

He added: "New sanctions are nothing positive but not as bad as the West makes it sound.

"The more the West pushes Russia, the stronger the Russian response will be.”

Mr Tatarintsev said sanctions had made Russia “more self-sufficient”, pushing domestic producers to make their own products using Western recipes.

"We are more self-sufficient and have been able to increase our exports. We have no Italian or Swiss cheeses, but we've learned to make just as good Russian cheeses using Italian and Swiss recipes," he said.

Mr Tatarintsev also claimed Moscow was trying to avoid a war, despite positioning some 130,000 troops along the border with Ukraine.

"That is our political leadership's most sincere wish,” he told the paper. “The last thing people in Russia want is war."

The UK and US have threatened tough sanctions against Russia if it does stage an incursion into Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday warned Russia of immediate sanctions and "hard reactions" if it attacks Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden also said Washington would respond "decisively and impose swift and severe costs" if the Kremlin invaded its neighbour.

James Cleverly, a UK foreign office minister, told the Commons earlier in the week that the government was “toughening and expanding our sanctions regime in response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine”.

He said the legislation “will significantly broaden the range of people, businesses and other entities that we can sanction in response to any further Russian aggression”.