Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s comment on anti-Russian sanctions policy

Submitted on Wed, 05/25/2016 - 11:08

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a question at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter Szijjarto, Budapest, 25 May 2016

Question (addressed to both ministers): Have you discussed sanctions on Russia, and the possibility of them being lifted? What do you expect will happen in summer, when they decide on renewing or lifting them? What is Hungary’s stance on this matter?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia operates on the assumption that we shouldn’t count or not count on anything other than our own strength. The sanctions policy of the EU, the United States and some other countries is absolutely politically motivated. More than once, some politicians have made Freudian slips, from which it followed that the Ukraine conflict is not the only reason for imposing these sanctions. That is why we have repeatedly stated that we will deal with the current circumstances on our own. We have everything that we need to overcome the objective difficulties that have arisen in the wake of the sanctions and to become more self-reliant and less dependent on the political situation, particularly the one related to the anti-Russian moves of certain Western leaders.

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Péter Szijjártó): In the course of our talks today, during the part concerning relations between Russia and the European Union, we spoke about the interview by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to Die Welt newspaper. When asked if the Russia-EU strategic partnership remains valid, she answered no. By the way, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the EU has never been invalidated by either side. However, even though Ms Mogherini said that there was no strategic partnership, she recognised that Russia remains a strategic state – a play on words. Then she was asked whether it was possible to restore such strategic partnership. She said it was, if the Minsk Agreements are fully implemented, adding that not only Russia but Ukraine as well must fulfil these agreements. It thus appears that restoring strategic partnership between Russia and the EU is dependent on the whims and the position of official Kiev, which is doing its best to distort or even torpedo the Minsk Agreements. We cannot agree with this logic by the EU representative.