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MOSCOW, September 1. /TASS/. Moscow pays attention to anti-Russian sanctions in order to be independent from the West in the vitally important spheres for the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.
Addressing students and the faculty of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Tuesday, Lavrov said the European Union last September lauded Moscow’s contribution to the Ukrainian conflict settlement but later the same month introduced additional sanctions against Russia.
"We did not get a clear answer, when we asked them [the EU] whether it was their attitude to the political process," Lavrov said.
"It turned out later that the procedure of introducing these sanctions was closed, many presidents of prime ministers of the European Union’s members simply were not aware what Brussels was doing on their behalf. But let us put it aside," the top Russian diplomat said.
"By the way, the authorities in Kiev openly state now that since Russia fails to implement the Minsk Accords, the sanctions from last September will be extended," Lavrov said. "I do not know whether this is what [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko was trying to negotiate with [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Francois] Hollande. We will see."
"In any way, we [Russia] are paying attention to sanctions, only from the stance that we, inside our country, would be ready for all such twists of our Western partners, to be independent from them in the spheres, which are vitally important for our country, for our citizens," Lavrov added.
Relations between Russia and the West have been strained by the developments in Ukraine as the United States accused Russia of its direct involvement in the armed conflict in the neighboring ex-Soviet republic and slapped Moscow with sanctions. Moscow repeatedly denied the accusations. The European Union joined Washington’s policy in regard to Russia and imposed own sanctions.
The West started imposing sanctions on Russia since March 2014 in the wake of the drastic events evolving in Ukraine at that time. First, an early EU summit stalled the talks on a visa-free regime and a new base agreement on Russia-EU cooperation. Further on, the sanctions were grouped into three categories - personal, corporate and sectoral.
By early September 2014, some 420 Russian individuals and 143 companies had been put on the sanction lists of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.
The sectoral sanctions imposed for a term of one year include an embargo on the supply of arms to Russia and the importation of Russian weapons and related materials, a ban on the delivery of dual-purpose products and technologies to Russia, as well as innovative technologies for Russia’s oil extracting industry.
In mid-September last year, the European Union published new sanctions against Russia in its official journal.
Russia fully banned from August 7, 2014 the imports of meat, fish, cheeses, milk, vegetables and fruits from western countries that had imposed economic sanctions against Russian citizens and companies.
The countries that have slapped sanctions against Russia include the European Union member states, Norway, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.