US President Joe Biden on Thursday reacted to news that consumer prices have climbed more than 7.9% in the past 12 months, suggesting the new Consumer Price Index report reflects the pinch that Americans feel because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country’s invasion for the price hikes, but said the costs the US has imposed on Russia in response are “much more devastating” than the costs the US has faced. Americans face at home.
“Today’s inflation report reminds us that US budgets are being strained by rising prices and that families are beginning to feel the effects of Putin’s price hike. A major contributor to inflation this month was a rise in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions,” Biden said in a statement.
He continued: “As I have said all along, there will be costs at home if we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know: the costs we impose to Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we face.
He pointed to efforts to lower prices, including the release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and other steps taken by the administration to strengthen supply chains and promote competition.
What Putin says: The Russian president has claimed that Western nations that have taken “hostile measures” towards Moscow are trying to blame Russia for their own mistakes and deceive their own people. The sanctions that have been imposed against Russia are illegitimate and would have been applied regardless, he said.
“They cite the sanctions they impose on us as the reason for the deterioration of their situation. It is very strange, despite the fact that we fulfill all our obligations,” Putin told a meeting of ministers of his government in Moscow.
Russia is fulfilling its energy export obligations, he said, and blamed inflation on bans on Russian oil.
“Their prices are going up, but it’s not our fault. This is the result of their miscalculations. Nothing to complain about. will happen in relations with our country, I have no doubt about it,” he said.
Putin added that together with Russia and its partners, “those who do not recognize these illegal actions”, will together “certainly find solutions to all the problems they are trying to create for us”.
Putin has acknowledged that the sanctions will bite, but Russia has overcome such problems in the past. “Markets will gradually reorient themselves and realize that there are no such problems that we could not solve.”
He also warned that food prices would rise if international economic pressure on Russia continues, as it is a major global fertilizer supplier.