Lavrov Warns, EU Sanctions Could Lead To Breach Between Moscow and Brussels
Feb. 13 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov set off a firestorm during a Feb. 12 interview with Russian television journalist Vladimir Solovyov when he indicated that Russia was prepared to split from the European Union if the EU insists on imposing sanctions against Russia over that cause economic damage. Lavrov said that because of the sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine and Crimea’s referendum vote to reunite with Russia,
“we have realized that we must rely only on ourselves. No, we do not want to self-isolate. We want to take advantage of the international division of labor, but if someone is saying that there will be competition, but we will be ‘cut off’ here, here and also there.... As [German Foreign Minister Heiko] Maas put it, they will impose sanctions just to make sure our actions don’t go unnoticed. What kind of a reliable partner are you then?”
When Solovyov asked him “Are we heading for a breach with the EU?” Lavrov replied:
“We believe we would be ready for this. We are neighbors. Speaking collectively, they are our largest trade and investment partner. Many EU companies operate here; there are hundreds or even thousands of joint ventures. When a business benefits both sides, we will continue. I am sure that we have become fully self-sufficient in the defense sphere. We must also attain the same position in the economy to be able to act accordingly if we see again (we have seen this more than once) that sanctions are imposed in a sphere where they can create risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive areas such as the supply of component parts. We don’t want to be isolated from the world, but we must be prepared for this. If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov charged that the Western media misinterpreted Lavrov’s remarks, that he was not threatening to cut relations, but that Russia will be prepared to act on its own if severe sanctions are imposed. “If we face a destructive course that will hurt our infrastructure, our interests, Russia must be ready in advance for such unfriendly steps,” Peskov said during a call with reporters when asked about Lavrov’s comment. “We must be self-reliant. We must ensure our security in the most sensitive strategic areas and be prepared to replace everything we could be deprived of with national infrastructure in case madness prevails and such unfriendly actions take place.”
“The point is that we don’t want this [to sever ties with the EU] but seek to develop relations with the European Union. However, if the EU chooses to go down this path [of imposing sanctions that entail risk for the Russian economy], then yes, we will be ready because you need to be ready for the worst,” he explained, reported TASS. The complete interview is posted on the Foreign Ministry website.