Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov provided an additional context to his recent remarks that Russia is ready to break off relations with the European Union in response to the meddling and sanction efforts by it.
Then, he said the following answering to the question about the possible halt of relations with the EU:
“Our starting point is that we are ready,” he said answering to the question about this possibility. “If we see again, as we have seen several times before, that sanctions are being imposed in areas that create risks for our economy.”
“Of course, we do not want to isolate ourselves from living in the world, but we must be ready for this. If you want peace, prepare for war,” he emphasized.
On February 15, Lavrov added that in fact the European Union has been consistently breaking off relations with Russia, this began a long time ago and Brussels was the initiator.
“In principle, anyone who is more or less interested in the situation in Europe has long known that for many years, when this break occurs, the EU has been consistently breaking relations,” he said at a press conference in St. Petersburg following talks with his Finnish colleague Pekka Haavisto.
According to Lavrov, “2014 was a kind of turning point, when then coup d’etat took place in Ukraine, and the European Union showed its largely helplessness regarding the agreement that was reached right on the eve of the coup d’etat between the government and the opposition, under which Germany, France and Poland put their signatures”.
“Then the real humiliation of the European Union took place,” Lavrov emphasized.
After this, Lavrov added “the EU destroyed all mechanisms without exception”. This included the de-facto suspension of regular summits at the highest level, meetings of members of the Russian government with European Commissioners and the President of the European Commission, more than 20 sectoral dialogues, and annual meetings of the Russian Foreign Minister with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs.
“All this has been destroyed, and not by us,” Lavrov summed up.
He noted that only sporadic contacts on key international questions like the conflict in Syria or the Iranian nuclear program have survived.
However, Russia is not going to leave Europe. Instead, Moscow will develop its relations with European states rather than the union itself.
“Don’t confuse the European Union with Europe. We are not leaving Europe anywhere. We have many friends in Europe, many like-minded people. We will continue to develop mutually beneficial relations with them,” Lavrov said.