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MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday he has serious reasons to believe that the United States is attempting to change the regime and destabilize the situation in Russia with the help of sanctions.
"Some politicians don't even hide it," Lavrov said. “Of course sanctions hurt, but I don’t believe the sanctions will help the European Union. The United States ordered the EU to impose sanctions and frankly we have overestimated the independence of the European Union (from the US),” the minister said.
Lavrov said sanctions could not be considered an "instrument of serious policies.” “Sanctions are a sign of irritation," he said.
Russia will overcome the West's sanctions, which will only make the country stronger, Lavrov said on Tuesday. “Russia will not only survive but will come out much stronger,” Lavrov said in an interview with France 24 TV channel. “We have been in much worse situations in our history and every time we have got out of our fix much stronger,” he said.
Delay in convening Contact Group Minsk meeting stems from DPR’s (self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic) and LPR’s (self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic) plans to put issue of prisoner exchange on agenda, along with ceasefire, the foreign minister said.
There will be no “second Crimea” in south-east Ukraine, but Crimea is Russian land, Lavrov stressed. Moscow unambiguously supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity, he added.
Degree of autonomy of Donetsk, Luhansk regions should be determined by Ukrainians, Russia does not offer federalization or autonomy, the foreign minister said.