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Russian PM says Europe should draw a line under ‘sanctions war’

July 24, 2015, 8:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s decision to extend its ban on most Western food imports for one year was a pragmatic one, Dmitry Medvedev noted in an interview with Slovenia's national broadcaster RTV Slovenija
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

© Yekaterina Shtukina/Russian Government Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, July 24. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he believed it was up to Europe to draw a line under "the sanctions war".

"We have not started this process and I am sure it’s not up to us to finish it," Medvedev said in an interview with Slovenia's national broadcaster RTV Slovenija, speaking about the impact of sanctions on bilateral trade. "Anyway, restrictions of any kind disappear while trade relations, particularly good relations between countries, between nations, good feelings between people, always remain and prevail over this."

Medvedev noted that a decline in trade turnover between Russia and Slovenia, as well as between Russia and the European Union, had two reasons.

The first one was rooted in current market conditions, the premier said. "It’s obvious that the volume of trade turnover comprises a whole range of exported and imported goods," he said, adding that among the most important goods supplied by Russia were raw materials, mainly natural gas and petroleum. "Prices for these energy resources have fallen, which is not very good for suppliers, but good for consumers. This has naturally decreased trade turnover," Medvedev said, noting that this was "a normal part" of the decline

But there was also another part, "connected with imposition of sanctions and, consequently, our retaliatory measures", Medvedev said. "I cannot consider this decline to be normal as it is linked to political decisions," he said, noting that this was generally bad for the countries.

Extension of Western food ban for one year ‘pragmatic’

Russia’s decision to extend its ban on most Western food imports for one year was a pragmatic one, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev went on to say.

"The point is that our retaliatory measures are connected with food and, as you know, we are now actively seeking to substitute food products and produce them in our country," he said, adding that the extension of the ban was "purely pragmatic".

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending the counter-sanctions following a request submitted by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The extension was unveiled after EU foreign ministers said that sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict would be prolonged until January 2016.

The sanctions introduced last August banned a range of food products, including beef, pork, fish, cheese, vegetables, fruit, milk and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia.

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