The European Central Bank is having to raise interest rates because of inflation caused by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, ECB President Christine Lagarde said.
“That’s what he [Putin] is trying to do, cause chaos and destroy as much of Europe as he can,” Lagarde said during an appearance on RTE’s Late Late Show in Ireland. “This energy crisis is causing massive inflation which we have to defeat,” she said.
“Anybody who is behaving in that way has to be driven by evil forces,” said Lagarde of Putin, adding that the “sick” Russian president is a “terrifying person.”
Discussing her previous meetings with the Russian leader, Lagarde described him as an “unbelievably super-briefed person” with “flashing, freezing eyes.”
Lagarde said the heightened inflation in Europe had “pretty much come about from nowhere.”
The central bank on Thursday announced another interest rate increase to combat inflation, taking eurozone rates to the highest level since 2009.
“We do it because we are fighting inflation,” said Lagarde, pointing also to a speedier-than-expected economic rebound from the pandemic as a cause alongside the energy crisis.
While Lagarde has come under fire from senior European politicians for the rate decisions, she said that they are aimed at keeping the cost of living in check. In September, inflation across the euro area hit 10 percent.