MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Relations between Russia and Belgium keep developing despite sanctions imposed against Russia over developments in Ukraine, even getting back to their ‘pre-sanctions’ level, Russian Ambassador to Belgium Alexander Romanov told Rossiya 24 television on Tuesday.
"I wouldn’t say our bilateral contacts have declined because of sanctions. I think last year they even achieved the level existing before sanctions were imposed," the diplomat said.
He also mentioned last year’s visit to Moscow of Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and a return visit of his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. An agreement abolishing double taxation was signed at these talks, Romanov said.
He said work was currently underway to prepare for a tenth intergovernmental commission in Moscow, that would involve Russia, Belgium and Luxemburg.
For incorporation of Crimea after the 2014 coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
Russia imposed a package of counter-measures against the countries that had introduced anti-Russian sanctions. The United States, the EU, Canada, Australia, Norway, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Lichtenstein are on the list.
Russia’s counter-measures involved a one-year ban on imports of vegetables and fruit, dairy and meat products from these countries. It was extended last June for another year.