Putin warns West against sending troops to Ukraine in major speech

Connie Queline

Putin warns West against sending troops to Ukraine in major speech

Copyright: Getty Images

We’ve passed the hour-mark of Putin’s speech now, and he’s getting into a highly detailed description of his economic plans.

We’ve spotted a few nodding heads (and occasional yawns) in the audience.

Praising the Russian economy, he says that “hundreds of new brands have arrived” as “people want to start a business, they believe in themselves and their country”.

It’s difficult to say if this is true, but since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine many international brands – including McDonald’s, Zara and Starbucks – made the decision to leave Russia because of the reputational risk and the practical difficulties of operating due to sanctions.

To encourage the creation of new businesses, Putin says that taxes for small and medium sized businesses should be reduced.

The matter of exactly who will staff these businesses is also a concern for the Russian leader.

Earlier, he said that there is a “high shortage of personnel” – likely a reference to the fact there are thousands of soldiers deployed in Ukraine and therefore missing from the workforce.

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