7 Dec 2018 14:47

Nazarbayev says West's sanctions on Russia wrong, counterproductive

ASTANA. Dec 7 (Interfax) - The West's sanctions policy aimed at hampering Russia's development is counterproductive, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

"The Soviet Union lived under sanctions throughout its entire 74-year existence. You may have forgotten that, but I remember it well. [...] In spite of these sanctions, Russia improved its industry, prepared for World War II, and won it. Therefore, the current straining to hamper Russia's development is wrong, for one things, and counterproductive, for another," Nazarbayev said in an interview aired on Rossiya 24 (VGTRK) television on Friday.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin's idea is to find a way out of these difficulties in any case, but also shake hands. There should be two sides. He proposes and wants that, but they find one reason or another to put the brakes on it," he said.

Russia needs Europe, and vice versa, Nazarbayev said.

"After all, this [confrontation between Russia and the West] is not normal. The sides will realize that. I almost started to reach agreements as far as the Eurasian Union and the EU are concerned, that they should sign a free-trade agreement, which would benefit us. On the whole, we were heading in that direction, if what happened hadn't happened," he said.

Nazarbayev did not rule out that such cooperation could take place in the future.

"We live on the same continent. [Cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union] will develop because it will benefit peoples, it will benefit states," he said.