Vladimir Putin mocked Britain for having to eat turnips while failing to bring Russia‘s economy to its knees with sanctions. Speaking to business leaders on Thursday, the Russian leader said Western analysts had prophesied that Russia‘s store shelves would empty and services collapse as a result of the sanctions, which were imposed in response to his invasion of Ukraine.
The remarks by Putin appeared to be referring to remarks by British farm minister Therese Coffey, who said last month that Britons struggling to get hold of imported tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers in supermarkets could consider more seasonal, home-grown turnips.
However, Russian state media claimed that the country has an abundance of fresh food despite sanctions on the country.
Putin said: “Life had other ideas.
“The Western countries themselves ran into all the same problems.
“It’s got to the point where their leaders suggest that citizens switch to turnips instead of lettuce or tomatoes.”
The Russian president also added: “Turnips are a good product, but you will probably have to turn to us [Russia] for turnips too, because our crop level still significantly exceeds those of our neighbours in Europe.”
Supermarkets across Britain including Aldi, Morrisons, Asda, and Tesco have suffered shortages of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
Ms Coffey, therefore, said that consumers might want to turn to British “specialisms” at this time of year to support domestic farmers.
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Low-cost energy in the gas-rich nation means vegetables can be grown in hot houses throughout the bitter winter.
Russia is also able to import large quantities of fruit from sympathetic countries, such as Iran, enjoying warmer climates.
Consumers in most other parts of Western Europe did not suffer the same shortages, which were caused by abnormally cold weather disrupting harvests in southern Europe and north Africa.
While Russia‘s 2 percent economic contraction last year defied most early forecasts, analysts say it will be years before it regains its 2021 size, and longer until it returns to its previous growth path.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts the Russian economy to grow 0.3 per cent this year; far lower than the 3.75 per cent that was forecast for 2022 before the invasion.
While praising Russia‘s resilience, Putin also acknowledged risks to the economy and told business leaders to put patriotism before profit.