MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is obliged to respond to Western sanctions, but “an eye for an eye” is not its approach, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
“We are obliged to respond [to sanctions] when unfair conditions are created for our business circles, when the positions of our agriculture producers on our own market are undermined, because sanctions have been introduced against Rosselkhozbank [Agriculture Bank], and they won’t have the best conditions to get loans. But subsidizing and crediting companies that deliver foodstuffs from Europe onto our market have not hurt at all and they would have received a competitive advantage,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov said that “a response is needed regardless but we don’t really want ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ that’s not our approach.”
Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, the United States persuaded its allies to add Russian individuals and entities to their own blacklists.
On August 30, at the EU Summit in Brussels, European leaders urged the European Commission to create proposals for new economic sanctions against Russia within one week.
Moscow earlier said that politically motivated sanctions that target local companies are hurting Russian external trade and violate WTO rules.
In August, Moscow was pushed to introduce protective measures banning for a year the import of agricultural and food products from countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia.
Russia has repeatedly referred to the language of sanctions “counterproductive,” saying that such measures “threaten international peace and stability.”