‘No real severe crisis in Russia’ Zelensky advisor warns as Putin can ‘finance war effort’

Russia has ‘no real severe crisis’ says Rodnyansky

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Despite predictions the West’s sanction against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine would take a heavy toll on Russia’s economy, the country is still exporting oil and gas to Europe and nations like India and Turkey. Edward Fisherman, a former Europe specialist at the US State Department, told Foreign Policy that “Putin is continuing to make at least a billion dollars a day selling oil and gas, and the lion’s share is from Europe.”

Against that backdrop, Alexander Rodnyansky, advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, has raised alarm bells around the fact Putin still has the financial ability to sustain his war in Ukraine.

Mr Rodnyansky warned on LBC: “Russia can continue to do this for however long at current prices, at current gas energy prices especially.

“They are a comfortable current account surplus. They can finance their war efforts. And this is bad news because it means they can continue this.

“Yes, there’s a recession in Russia, a steep recession. The GDP is expected to contract by maybe 12 to 15 percent but at the same time, there’s no real severe crisis, right? So they can just go on.

“And that’s what we’re seeing. It’s very dangerous for us and it could mean that the conflict is going to escalate at some point.”

Mr Rodnyansky’s warning comes as Russian forces appear to be making gains. The Kremlin has said today it will not give up until its objectives are achieved. But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed Ukrainian forces for having “done what seemed impossible” by holding off Russia for 100 days.

On the fact that major Ukrainian cities are still in Ukraine’s control, Mr Rodnyansky said: “I was always personally of the opinion that the Russian side is overestimating its capabilities by far and underestimating our capabilities by a lot.”

Mr Rodnyansky continued: “And that’s what you saw. And I always said: if this is going to start before the war really started, I was going to say that the most likely scenario is the Syrian scenario where they’re basically forced to destroy cities like Aleppo – and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

“So, I wouldn’t have been surprised but I would still have like to say – and I always said it – that’s insanity. How can this possibly be true given that this is the most likely outcome? How can it be that the Russian side actually decides to plunge in and, you know, go ahead?

“But that’s what we’re having. That’s what we’re seeing. So, it is horrendous. This is what we have.”

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Reflecting on the first 100 days of the war, he said: “It’s hard to believe. It feels like it’s been one day for us. Ever since February 24 happened, we’ve been in this 24/7 non-stop. Well, it feels tough. There’s no denying that this takes a toll on everyone.

“But at the same time, we’re in this fight. We have to gain back control of our territories. And that’s what we’re going to do. There’s still a big task ahead of us and unfortunately a lot of suffering that awaits us.

“But we have to engage.”

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