Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia is doing well in tackling its economic crisis and reaffirms Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Vladimir Putin said on Friday (June 19), Russia was doing well in tackling its economic crisis, aggravated by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and a fall in global oil prices. "Already at the end of the last year many predicted a deep crisis here - this has not happened. We have managed to stabilize the situation, we minimized negative influence of the economic situation and now we are steadily overcoming a difficult period. First of all because the Russian economy accumulated enough internal strength," Putin said. He added that Russia's financial system and banking sector had adapted to the new conditions and that inflation had been taken under control. Addressing the world's top politicians and business leaders, Putin said that despite sanctions and international isolation Russia was committed to ensuring a transparent and predictable economy for investors. He also reaffirmed Russia's support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad saying that it was driven by concerns that any forcible overthrow of the president would plunge his war-shattered country into even deeper disarray. Speaking at an economic conference in the city of St Petersburg, Putin also said Russia was concerned that fighting could worsen in Syria and come to resemble the conflict in Libya. "Our position is based on the concern that Syria may fall into the same condition as … Libya or as Iraq," he said. "This is the main grounds of our support for President Assad and his government. We think that this is the right position, it would be hard to expect something different from us. Moreover, as it appears to me, many people now agree with this position of ours," he added. Russia is a Syrian ally and has protected President Bashar al-Assad from the U.N. Security Council action during the four-year civil war. The United Nations says some 220,000 people have been killed and an estimated 7.6 million are internally displaced. Another 4 million people have fled the country.