Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government, via a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on Dec 14, 2022. (MIKHAIL METZEL / POOL / AFP)
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would expand trade cooperation with new partners, to combat Western sanctions.
Putin promised Russians in a major televised speech on the economy that pensions and the minimum wage would keep rising.
Russia's energy sales to the European Union have sharply fallen since the conflict in Ukraine started, as the EU moved to cut dependence on Moscow and mystery explosions shut down Russia's gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea
He said Russia would develop its economic relations with partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America to thwart Western efforts to isolate it economically.
READ MORE: Russian economy remains resilient despite sanctions
"We will remove restrictions in logistics and finance. Let me remind you that by introducing sanctions, Western countries were trying to push Russia to the periphery of world development. But we will never take the route of self-isolation," he said.
"On the contrary, we are broadening, and will broaden, cooperation with all who have an interest in that."
Russia's energy sales to the European Union have sharply fallen since the conflict in Ukraine started, as the EU moved to cut dependence on Moscow and mystery explosions shut down Russia's gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.
Putin said Russia would increase gas sales to "the east" and reiterated his plan to build a new "gas hub" in Türkiye. He said it would define prices for gas sales to Europe using an "electronic platform".
Russia's economy is expected to shrink by 2.5 percent in 2022, Putin said, acknowledging certain "difficulties" but repeating his familiar line that Western economies have suffered a boomerang effect in the form of surging inflation resulting from their own sanctions.
Russia has outlined plans to spend nearly a third of next year's budget on defense and domestic security while cutting funding for schools, hospitals and roads.
READ MORE: Russia legalizes parallel imports amid Western sanctions
Putin, who is expected to seek re-election in 2024, emphasized he would protect the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
"Despite the objective difficulties of the current year, we will achieve positive results in reducing poverty, and next year we need to reinforce this positive dynamic," he said.
He set a priority for the government to achieve a tangible real-terms increase in salaries next year, and said the minimum wage must be increased faster than inflation.