Vladimir Putin says economic sanctions have become political instrument

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the global economy has suffered from politically driven sanctions.

Speaking Friday at a business forum in St. Petersburg, Putin pointed at “not just erosion but the dismantling of a system of multilateral cooperation that took decades to build.”

In an apparent criticism of the United States, he said economic sanctions have become a political instrument used to “suppress the competition or extract concessions.”

Russia-US ties have been strained over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and accusations of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. The US and its allies have hit Russia with several waves of sanctions that badly hurt its economy.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also attending the forum, called for improving ties between Russia and the European Union.