Russian President Vladimir Putin denigrated the dollar and hit out at U.S. sanctions against Moscow with a wry remark about his country's efforts to decrease its reliance on the U.S. currency.
Putin spoke at an economic conference in Moscow on November 28, a day after Russia raised 1 billion euros with its first euro-denominated Eurobond issue in five years -- a sign of its bid to move away from the dollar.
“We don't want to move away from the dollar. The dollar is moving away from us," Putin said at the forum before an audience that included foreign business executives, suggesting that U.S. sanctions were restricting Russian transactions in dollars.
"The people who are making decisions aren't shooting themselves in the foot, but somewhere a bit higher up," he said.
"Instability in dollar payments" is prompting "very many" countries to find alternative reserve currencies and create payment systems that are independent from the dollar," Putin asserted.
Putin, who has been president or prime minister since 1999, has frequently used earthy remarks and off-color jokes in an effort to make a point -- and make a splash.
Plans for a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina on November 30-December 1 are uncertain after Trump said he might not meet with Putin following a Russian-Ukrainian confrontation at sea off Crimea.
In separate remarks at the economic conference, Putin avoided a substantive answer when he was asked what will happen in 2024, when his current six-year term is due to end.
"What's the hurry? I'm not planning on going anywhere yet," Putin quipped.
A constitutional limit of two consecutive presidential terms prohibits Putin from seeking reelection in 2024.