Calling India as one of the "new centres of power in the East", Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Russian President Vladimir Putin, has said that it will be "harder and more expensive" for entrepreneurs from America and Europe to return to Russia as the vacuum is instantly filled by someone else in the current market conditions.
Peskov was speaking ahead of the annual Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) which kicks off tomorrow and where Putin will be on Friday delivering an "extremely important" speech on the impact of sanctions on rising energy prices and the emerging food crisis in the world.
While Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has confirmed that he will be attending the plenary session – which according to Putin's Press Secretary would be "very, very interesting" – Moscow said it is intentionally not revealing the names of other foreign leaders attending the forum.
Peskov, however, acknowledged that there will be less number of foreigners from the West this time than in previous years.
"The world is more multifaceted, there are many other directions. Yes, there are new centres of power in the East: China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and many, many other countries. But there is also Latin America," Peskov told Russian state-owned news agency Tass in an interview.
The main theme of the 25th edition of the SPIEF is ‘New Opportunities in a New World’, reflecting current global changes around the world and providing Russia an occasion for dialogue with all interested parties.
The Kremlin spokesperson mentioned that "squeezing Russia out of international life is absolutely hopeless and actually impossible", highlighting the pace of developments over the past few months as a clear indication of it.
Meanwhile, the Russian armed forces continue to make a massive advance towards establishing their full control over the battle-ravaged eastern Ukrainian city of Sieverodonetsk in the Luhansk region.
An area which is the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the east, Peskov on Monday called the protection of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) as the "main goal" of Russia's 'special military operation' in Ukraine.
With Russia's high-precision missiles hitting areas of concentration of its manpower and military equipment, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had in his video address last night demanded more advanced weapons from the West, saying that the battle for the Donbas region "will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe and for Europe".
The Russian Defence Ministry also announced today that its troops will open a 12-hour humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of the civilian population of Severodonetsk on Wednesday.
Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine, also urged the "Ukrainian military, militants of nationalist formations and foreign mercenaries" to hand over their weapons, stop the hostilities and release the civilians they are holding through this humanitarian corridor.