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Moscow doubts EU capable of implementing independent policy on Russia

August 07, 2017, 14:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Russian diplomat doubts whether the European Union is an independent player

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MOSCOW, August 7. /TASS/. Russia does not believe that the EU has been implementing an independent policy on Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn (or International Life) magazine, published on Monday.

"I don’t believe that the European Union is an independent player, particularly as far as Russia is concerned," he said. "Unfortunately, in the past years, they made a lot of missteps and created such unfavorable conditions for relations with Russia that it will be difficult for them to abandon it all in the future," he added. According to Ryabkov, "lobbying business and economic interests is a factor." "Nevertheless, I would not exaggerate its importance in the new situation," he added.

"In the past, when the EU actually adopted a tough stance towards the Helms-Burton Act [a 1996 US law imposing sanctions on foreign companies trading with Cuba - TASS], some legal tools were found that the EU used to protect its companies from the exterritorial use of the US sanctions," the Russian deputy foreign minister pointed out. "But those days are over," he said.

"Whether something like that is possible now - we hear some statements which reflect the sentiment of the significant part of the EU citizens, particularly those who are interested in normal relations with Russia, including economic ties," he noted. "But these statements should be followed by actions," Ryabkov stressed.

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