25 Nov 2019 18:43

Russia won't cancel sanctions on EU first - Medvedev

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) - Russia will not lift its countersanctions on the European Union unless the EU makes the first move, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"If we're discussing any first actions by Russia, the cancellation of any restrictive measures, the answer is known: we won't lift anything," Medvedev said at a press conference following a meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Antti Rinne.

He had been asked by Interfax whether Russia could take the initiative in lifting its sanctions on the EU.

Medvedev said that for many, sanctions were nothing to rejoice at, but some Russian companies wanted Russia's response measures to remain in place "for good."

He responded to Rinne's remark that a resolution of the sanctions issue would depend on the fulfillment of the Minsk Accords and a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.

"If it is possible to make progress, especially for Ukraine itself, in resolving the internal conflict, then perhaps our relations with the EU - I'd make this contingent - will improve. And if it proves impossible to make progress and it means these sanctions stay in place for a long time, then our sanctions will also be in place for a long time, but in these conditions it is possible to live and develop," Medvedev said.

He said that for Russia bilateral relations with EU countries "are of course today...far more important than relations with the European Union as a whole."

"We want normal relations with the EU but until the EU shows a desire to restore these we will not be doing anything," Medvedev said.

It was the EU that spoiled relations, he said. "So let them be the first to ask for those relations to be restored," he said.