MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - EU sanctions imposed against Russia will rebound and impact the European economy, the Eurasian Economic Commission's minister of trade said Thursday.
The statement came after the European Free Trade Association along with New Zealand suspended talks with the Russia-led customs union on the creation of a free trade zone.
EEC minister Andrei Slepnev said at a press conference in Kazakhstan that politically motivated steps such as the suspension of free trade negotiations would be mutually destructive and felt far beyond Russia's borders.
"It's an economic punishment for their own enterprises that are seeking more access [to Eurasian markets] and are expecting an immediate, tangible result from these agreements."
Slepnev warned that all progress on the agreements would be undone because of "temporary turbulence."
"The biggest loss will be felt by our partners from far abroad, because they've now found themselves cut off from our market," he noted, adding that the customs union was engaged in free trade talks with Vietnam, while also sounding out possibilities for closer cooperation with China, India and Israel.
The EEC trade minister said he believed sanctions were a double-edged sword, especially with regards to an economy as big as Russia's. "I don't think there'll be any more sanctions because they will hurt primarily the countries that insist on them," he noted.
Sanctions, such as assets freezes and travel bans, were imposed by the West on Russian officials following an escalation of the political conflict in Ukraine, where the Yanukovych administration was deposed by a Western-backed regime of far-right parties.
Several of the staunchest anti-Kremlin governments in the G7 have been pushing for broader economic sanctions. But a joint decision is still pending over the fear of a backlash.