MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin conceded Wednesday that sanctions imposed on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine could bring about "negative" consequences for the country, after insisting Moscow was adapting to the penalties.
"The sanctions imposed against the Russian economy in the medium term could really have a negative impact," Putin said in a televised meeting with the government.
Western capitals have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow after Putin launched his operation in Ukraine over a year ago.
Putin has repeatedly said that Russia is weathering the barrage of economic sanctions, which in particular targeted its oil and gas exports.
The Russian leader said Wednesday that unemployment in the country "remains at an all-time low," while inflation is expected to "drop below four percent" by the end of March after soaring in spring last year.
He added however that "the return to a growth trajectory should not make us feel relaxed.
"We need to support and strengthen the positive trends in our economy, increase its efficiency, ensure technological, personnel and financial sovereignty," he said.
Putin called on the government to "act quickly and without unnecessary bureaucracy and delays." — AFP