RIGA, October 3 (RIA Novosti) - Sanctions are not an effective way to build relations with Russia, Riga Mayor Nil Ushakov told RIA Novosti in an interview on Friday.
"We need to promote Riga and its positive image. And now, there is a war of sanctions and coming to Moscow and saying that we are not enemies, but friends, that all this will be over and all will normalize - this is very important. I am convinced that the sanctions - this is not the tool with which [one] should build relations with Russia," Ushakov said.
According to the mayor of the Latvian capital, "the sanctions wars" between the EU and Russia will end eventually and Latvia has to work now to try to return to the Russian market.
In late September Ushakov visited Moscow, where he held a number of meetings with the Russian leadership. During the meeting the mayor of Riga announced his intention to keep a Latvian presence in Russian supermarkets, which will be represented by those products that did not fall under the import restrictions imposed by Russia in August.
Over the past few months, the United States has introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia, blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs – claims that Russia has repeatedly denied. The US allies have followed Washington's lead by drawing up their own blacklists.
In August Moscow responded to western sanctions, implementing a one-year ban on certain food imports from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.