Russia organizes an economic forum without Western companies

An annual international economic forum is underway in Russia without the participation of American, European and Japanese companies.

Moscow is apparently trying to use the conference to emphasize its cooperation with China, African nations and other friendly countries.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum opened on Wednesday. Russian officials discussed economic cooperation Thursday in separate sessions with representatives from countries including China, Turkey and Iran.

The head of a Russian trade organization took part in a session with Chinese panelists, many of whom joined online.

They discussed issues such as cooperation between Russian and Chinese regions and payments in rubles and yuan.

Forum participants also discussed food security and soaring energy prices. They became global issues after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Delegates from Brazil, India and Senegal spoke about food-related issues which they say are exacerbated by the situation in Ukraine. Senegal currently chairs the African Union.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko accused Western nations of causing such problems by imposing sanctions on Moscow. She said the sanctions prevent the delivery of food to where it is needed and also double the costs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to deliver a speech on Friday. He is expected to address issues such as food security, but seek to justify Russia’s position.

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