Updated 6:12 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is interested in developing its relations with the European Union if EU partners choose not to oust Russia from their markets, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Russia-24 channel on Saturday.
"We value our European partners, we wish to develop relations with Europe. The volume of our trade with Europe amounts to over 400 billion, we deliver between 130 and 140 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe and supply about 200 billion tons of oil, meaning that this is a very important market to us," Medvedev said.
"If European partners do not make some absurd decisions to oust us from this market, we will stay there... If [EU states] continue to push us in this sense, a significant portion of our resources and a significant portion of our turnover will go to the Asia-Pacific region. But I think that this is not in the interest of Europeans, not in the interest of Americans, or anyone who has backed these absurd sanctions," the prime minister said, noting that Russian-European cooperation is in the interest of both sides.
Medvedev stressed that Russia's "turn towards Asia" is not a response to European sanctions, but linked to the rapid economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
The European Union has imposed several rounds sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, a claim that Moscow has repeatedly denied.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that using sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy is ineffective and never yields any results, adding that sanctions always cause certain damage, including to those using this measure.