Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the country's business leaders that he expected "restrictions" on Russia's economy, but said Russia had taken a "necessary measure" by launching a large-scale military offensive against Ukraine.
In remarks aired Thursday on state television, Putin said:
"What I wanted to say first – the most important thing, so you all understand – what is going on was a necessary measure. They didn’t leave us any chance to act otherwise. They created such risks in the sphere of security that it was impossible to react in a different way. All our efforts came out to zero. […] They created such risks that it’s difficult to comprehend how our country could have continued to exist."
US and Western leaders have pledged harsh sanctions, with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urging the West to ban Russia from the SWIFT international payments system. Putin noted that Russia remained part of the global economic system, but warned of further "restrictions" to the Russian economy and called for business to work "in solidarity" with the government.
“It seems to me that our partners should understand this and not set themselves the task of pushing us out of this system," Putin said. "Nevertheless, for political reasons, these restrictions will happen."
US President Joe Biden is set to announce further sanctions on Russia in the next hour.