ROMA (Sputnik) — Russia has never considered the European Union as an opponent and views the bloc as the country’s most important partner, Russian Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov said Thursday.
“Now we do not consider the European Union as an opponent. It is our natural and most important partner. It is another matter that the potential cooperation is significantly higher than the current state of affairs in our relations,” Razov said in an interview with Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale.
He said that despite the complexity of the political situation, Russia was ready for re-establishment of cooperation with the block.
“Now we have the situation, when the European Union has frozen a political dialogue with Russia, introduced economic sanctions that are illegal under international law, and cut back the cooperation in the sphere of energy at the expense of its own interests. We are ready for re-establishment of our relations, but, obviously, on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” Razov said.
He added that Russia values a lot Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's aspirations to facilitate bilateral cooperation in different spheres, referring to the prime minister’s four meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the last year and a half.
Since 2014, the United States, the European Union and their allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia accusing it of meddling in the internal crisis in Ukraine. Kremlin denied the accusations.