Washington: Scoffing at Russia's plummeting economy in the aftermath of a host of sanctions imposed on it, US President Barack Obama has suggested that what the Russian leader Vladimir Putin did (with Crimea) was a “strategic mistake”.
In a wide-ranging interview given to NPR News, shortly before the President was to leave for Hawaii for his annual vacation, Obama said that how Russia's falling economy had disproved those (his political opponents in US) who thought of Putin as a genius.
Obama's comments were referring to the collapse of Russian currency rouble that bore the brunt of a slew of sanctions imposed on Russia after Putin annexed Crimea and was accused of fomenting Ukraine crisis by arming pro-Russian separatists.
"You'll recall that three or four months ago, everybody in Washington was convinced that President Putin was a genius and he had outmanoeuvred all of us and he had bullied and strategised his way into expanding Russian power," the BBC quoted Obama citing NPR interview with Steve Inskeep in the Oval Office.
"Today, I'd sense that at least outside of Russia, maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn't so smart."
In March this year, after a referendum favoured independence, Russia annexed Crimea, drawing sharp reactions from West and Ukraine.
Obama called Putin's annexation of Crimea as “not so smart” a move.
Talking about the severe impact the international sanctions had on Russia, Obama said that the country's economy was now vulnerable to "inevitable" disruptions in oil price, sparking "enormous difficulties"."The big advantage we have with Russia is we've got a dynamic, vital economy, and they don't," he said. "They rely on oil. We rely on oil and iPads and movies and you name it."
Struck a severe blow by sanctions from the US, EU and other nations, Russian currency rouble's value has plummeted considerably, hitting the economy.