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MOSCOW, February 10. /TASS/. The decisive moment regarding the removal of the European Union sanctions against Russia will come in the summer, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the newspaper "Moskovsky Komsomolets".
"I think that now is the 'moment of truth'," he said. "At least this year it will be clear to what extent the European Union understands that the current situation is becoming improper for the external image of the EU," Lavrov added.
According to Lavrov, in the summer, when the next batch of sanctions expires, it will become clear whether Europe would "fairly treat its statements about not only Russia but also Ukraine needing to comply with the Minsk agreements, or it would be led by the aggressive minority, which is present in the EU and formed by Russophobe countries."
According to the minister, the sanctions were imposed not due to the situation in Ukraine or Syria. "It is just us strengthening as a country that can have its own view of things that goes against the grain for many in Washington," he said.
"We do not have paranoia, we are well aware that the big countries, especially those leading countries like the United States, of course, do not want competitors," Lavrov said. "Therefore, this mentality will always affect their relationship with us, China, India and other countries with a potential, rapidly growing economies and financial centers," he said. "Nevertheless, we want our interests to be represented in this competitive struggle in the international arena, and we want to do it fairly and based on rules," he noted.
At the same time, Lavrov said, "nobody is interested in the deterioration of relations with the United States." "We will not do that to our own detriment, and they are well aware of it. But we will cooperate as much as they are ready for it, based on respect for each other's interests and mutual benefit," Lavrov added.