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Vladimir Putin warned of “catastrophic consequences” for global energy markets, with Europe nations most at risk, if western countries impose further sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

European countries are working on finding alternative sources of energy to replace Russian oil and gas imports, posing a risk to the long-term stability of the sanctions-hit Russian economy, which has been bolstered by revenues from its commodities exports.

But speaking with members of government over video link on Friday, Russia’s president said it was European countries that face the greatest risk, as their move away from Russian energy will lead to higher gas prices on the spot market and for consumers.

“All this reveals, once again, that sanctions on Russia end up causing much more harm to those countries that impose them,” Putin said.

“The further use of sanctions could lead to even more severe consequences, even, without exaggeration, catastrophic consequences on the global energy market.”

Putin said western countries were attempting to convince other energy producers to increase their output in order to keep down prices, “but the energy market,” he said, “does not tolerate such fuss.” 

Putin admitted that sanctions were also having an effect on Russia and warned his ministers to not let down their guard.

He claimed he could see some government officials relaxing a little too much, adopting an attitude of: “I don’t give a damn about these sanctions, screw them! It’s all in the past, we’ve coped with everything and feel confident,” Putin said.

“Yes, we should feel confident, but the risks remain,” he said. “These actions, these restrictions, they are damaging our economy.”

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