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Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during an event to mark the 1160th anniversary of Russia's statehood in Veliky Novgorod on September 21, 2022. (Photo by Ilya PITALEV / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by ILYA PITALEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin: Sanctions Make Russia Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his first address to an international meeting since the recent mutiny in Russia, stated that Russia would continue to oppose Western sanctions.

Speaking at a virtual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit led by India, Putin expressed his defiance toward the West, declaring that Russia counters external sanctions and pressures while continuing to develop. He also supported trade agreements between SCO nations using local currencies, which is seen as an effort to mitigate the impact of sanctions.

During the summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for increased trade, connectivity, and technological cooperation among SCO members. Although Modi did not directly reference the war in Ukraine or China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, he urged SCO countries to collaborate on combating cross-border terrorism, with a veiled reference to Pakistan. Notably, he refrained from mentioning China, despite the strained relations between the two countries.

The SCO, established in 2001 by China, Russia, and four Central Asian countries, aimed to limit Western influence in the region. India and Pakistan joined the organization in 2017. While the joint statement to be released later will shed more light on SCO’s approach to Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover, the members seemed unanimous in their commitment to maintaining stability in the country.