Putin: Russia expects sanctions pressure to increase

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FILE PHOTO - Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference with a group of award-winning teachers

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that consumer demand remained weak and that he expected sanctions pressure on the Russian economy to intensify, in televised remarks from a meeting with government officials.

"In general, the situation here is stable," Putin said. "At the same time, it is important to understand that the sanctions pressure on Russia will only increase."

The West hit Moscow with unprecedented sanctions after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a "special military operation."

But the Russian economy has defied some predictions from Western analysts that it was facing a 15% hit to gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

Russia's Economy Ministry now expects a 2.9% contraction in 2022, while Western leaders hope the impact of sanctions will be long-lasting, and hold back the Russian economy for years.

(Reporting by Reuters)