US President Joe Biden reacted to news Thursday that consumer prices have soared over 7.9% over the last 12 months, suggesting the new consumer price index report reflected the pinch Americans are feeling due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden cast blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country's invasion for the rising prices, but said the costs the US has imposed on Russia in response are “far more devastating” than the costs Americans are facing at home.
“Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans' budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike. A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions,” Biden said in a statement.
He continued: “As I have said from the start, there will be costs at home as we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know this: the costs we are imposing on Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we are facing.”
He pointed to efforts to bring prices down, including a release from the strategic petroleum reserve, and other actions the administration is taking to strengthen supply chains and promote competition.
What Putin is saying: The Russian president has claimed Western nations that have taken “unfriendly steps” toward Moscow are trying to blame Russia for their own mistakes and are deceiving their own populations. Sanctions that have been imposed against Russia are illegitimate and would have happened regardless, he said.
“They point to the sanctions that they impose against us as the reason for the deterioration of their situation. It is very strange, despite the fact that we fulfill all our obligations,” Putin told a meeting of his government ministers in Moscow.
Russia is fulfilling its obligations on energy exports, he said, and blamed inflation on bans on Russian oil.
"Their prices are rising, but it is not our fault. This is the result of their miscalculations. Nothing to blame on us. They are trying at all costs to reach an agreement with countries against which they themselves have imposed illegitimate restrictions. The same will happen in relations with our country, I have no doubt about that,” he said.
Putin added that with Russia and its partners, “those who do not recognize these illegal actions,” together will “certainly find solutions to all the problems that they are trying to create for us."
Putin acknowledged that sanctions will bite, but Russia has weathered such problems in the past. "The markets will gradually re-direct themselves and will understand that there are no such problems that we could not solve."
He also warned that food prices will rise if international economic pressure on Russia continues because it is a major global supplier of fertilizer.