“Our position is that political and economic tracks should not overlap. WTO Director-General [Roberto Azevedo] shares our position on this issue,” Ulyukayev told reporters after a meeting with Azevedo.
According to the Russian official, during the meeting with the WTO head, the two officials reaffirmed their commitment to the rule that the participants of the WTO panel on dispute settlement should not be politically engaged.
"We agreed that the subject of sanctions is a political subject, the WTO dispute settlement panel is a platform for regulation of economic disputes, and the two should not be combined without need,” Ulyukayev said, when asked whether Russia would appeal to the WTO over the Western sanctions.
Relations between Russia and the West declined with the early 2014 Crimean referendum to join Russia and the Ukrainian government’s military offensive against pro-independence militia in the eastern region of Donbass.
Washington and Brussels imposed sanctions against Russian individuals and Russian defense, energy and banking sectors in late July 2014. Russia responded by introducing a year-long food embargo on imports from the United States, the European Union and other countries that have targeted Russia, extending the current embargo until August 5, 2016.