Moscow is prepared to end the relationship with the European Union if the bloc introduces sanctions that put the Russian economy at risk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated.
The foreign minister noted that Russia is completely self-sufficient in the military sphere, and it should strive for the same situation regarding its economy.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Moscow, Russia February 5, 2021.
The top diplomat also stressed that the restrictions imposed on Moscow won’t benefit Brussels.
The Foreign Ministry echoed Lavrov’s comment, stressing that Russia is ready for a break-up if the EU is the initiator.
The Kremlin also addressed the issue, stressing that the minister’s words should not be taken out of context: Moscow will not initiate breaking ties, it wants to improve relations.
Moscow, Kremlin view
If Russia faces restrictions and any unfriendly moves by the EU, it should prepare for self-reliance in advance, he added.
At the same time, the German Foreign Ministry described Lavrov’s comments as “disconcerting”.
The statement comes as a response to an announcement made by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. The European diplomat, who visited Moscow earlier this month, said that Brussels would consider imposing new sanctions against Moscow, and the topic would be discussed at EU summits in February and March.
Borrell also claimed that Russia was disconnecting itself from Europe. The Russian Foreign Ministry noted it was surprised by the remarks, adding they contradicted the statements he had made in Moscow.
The new round of tensions follows several EU politicians suggesting sanctions against Russia over the case of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. A Moscow court sentenced him to 2 years and 8 months in prison in a financial misdemeanour case. At least three European diplomats (from Sweden, Germany, and Poland) were expelled from the country for participating in unauthorised rallies in support of the opposition figure.