Putin could be out of cash within months, says oligarch

Putin on the alleged Ukrainian attack in western Russia

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A Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin has warned Russia’s economy could be on its knees financially as soon as 2024. Speaking at an economic forum in Krasnoyarsk, energy and metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska warned Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is draining Russia’s pockets.

Deripaska said the was has taken thousands of working men out of the economy and disrupted supply chains.

He warned: “The money will run out next year.”

Deripaska claimed a de-escalation of the conflict would be unlikely until at least 2025.

He also accused the Russian government of starting a “shake down” of businesses to make up for the economic shortfall.

His comments come as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked on Thursday in the highest-level in-person talks between the two countries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But there was no indication of any movement toward easing the intense tensions between their two nations.

The short encounter came as relations between Washington and Moscow have plummeted over Russia’s war with Ukraine and tensions have soared amid a myriad of disagreements, complaints and recriminations on other matters ranging from arms control to embassy staffing and prisoners.

US officials said Blinken and Lavrov chatted for roughly 10 minutes on the sidelines of the G20 conference of foreign ministers in New Delhi.

But there was no sign of any progress and the conference itself ended with the grouping unable to reach consensus on the Ukraine war.

Still, with relations at perhaps their lowest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Cold War, the mere fact that the two men met showed that, at least for the moment, lines of high-level communication between Washington and Moscow remains open.

At a news conference, Blinken said he told Lavrov that the US would continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and would push for the war to end through diplomatic terms that Kyiv agrees to.

“End this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and durable peace,” Blinken said he had told Lavrov. But, he noted that “President Putin has demonstrated zero interest in engaging, saying there’s nothing to even talk about unless and until Ukraine accepts and I quote ‘the new territorial reality’.””

Blinken said he also urged Russia to reverse “its irresponsible decision and return to” participation in the New START nuclear treaty.

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“Mutual compliance is in the interest of both our countries,” Blinken said he told Lavrov. He added ”that no matter what else is happening in the world, in our relationship, the United States is always ready to engage and act on strategic arms control, just as the United States and the Soviet Union did even at the height of the Cold War.”

Earlier, Blinken had told the G20 meeting that Russia’s war with Ukraine could not go unchallenged.

“We must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine for the sake of international peace and economic stability,” Blinken said. He noted that 141 countries had voted to condemn Russia at the United Nations on the one-year anniversary of the invasion.

Yet, several members of the G20, including host India, China and South Africa, chose to abstain in that vote and despite appeals from top Indian officials to look beyond their differences over Ukraine and forge consensus on other issues, the foreign ministers were unable to do so or agree on a final communique.

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