Russian govt waiting for EU to grow tired of anti-Russian sanctions
MOSCOW. June 24 (Interfax) - Russia has no intention to offer reconciliatory measures concerning sanctions to its partners and is waiting for an adjustment of Brussel's policy and accumulation of a critical mass of negative attitude to this standoff in the European Union, first deputy head of the Russian government Sergei Prikhodko has told the press.
"Our country is not holding any 'talks' on cancelling the unlawful unilateral restrictive measures against our country. It was not Russia that initiated this sanctions standoff. It is not us who should be the first to take reconciliatory measures," Prikhodko said ahead of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Havre for talks with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
Sectorial restrictions were imposed on Russia in 2014 under the pretext of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Prikhodko said. "Regretfully, this connection, which keeps aggravating Russia-EU relations, is artificial," he said.
In Prikhodko's words, Russia is not a party to the domestic Ukrainian conflict. "First of all, the prospective of normalizing our relations with the EU automatically becomes a hostage of the goodwill, or rather ill will of the Kyiv authorities, which have repeatedly publicly demonstrated the lack of their interest in fulfilling the Minsk Agreements," he said.
The sanctions are bad for both Russia and the EU, which is proven by estimates of economic damage sustained because of mutual sanctions at hundreds of millions of euros, he said.
Many Western participants in the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) have spoken in favor of the soonest cancellation of anti-Russian sanctions, Prikhodko said.
Russia can see that "an increasing number of politicians and businessmen come to realize the ineffective and counterproductive nature of the ongoing sanctions standoff," he said.
"Perhaps, a critical mass of such views should be accumulated before the EU's policy for Russia takes a positive turn. All we can do is hope that common sense and pragmatism will triumph at some point," he said.
Russia is interested in restoring relations with France and the EU as a whole, Prikhodko said.
"Our trade with the EU has practically halved since 2014. It has been showing signs of recovery since 2017. Who benefits from this situation? No one. This is a lose-lose situation," he said.
Russia cannot help but respond to the unlawful sanctions against it, Prikhodko said.
"We will keep doing so in a mirrored and proportionate fashion. We believe that neither state should try to dictate its will on the others. We respond to such attempts with proper counter measures, including those in the field of trade and the economy, which is necessary to protect our right to an independent domestic and foreign policy," he said.