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Russia may close airspace in response to new Western sectoral sanctions — Medvedev

September 08, 2014, 8:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"If there are sanctions connected with energy or further restrictions for our financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically," the Russian prime minister says
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

© ITAR-TASS/Dmitry Astakhov

MOSCOW, September 08. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian government does not rule out that Russia could close its airspace in response to new Western sectoral sanctions, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

Western nations “should be asked whether there will be new sanctions, but if there are sanctions connected with energy or further restrictions for our financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Vedomosti business daily. “For example, with restrictions in the transport sphere.”

“We proceed from the fact that we have friendly relations with our partners, so the sky above Russia is open for flights; but if we are restricted, we will have to respond,” he said. “If Western carriers fly out beyond our airspace, it may lead to bankruptcy of many airlines that are teetering on the brink of survival.”

Medvedev, however, said it would be a bad option. “We would just like our partners to realize that,” he said. The premier regretted that the West already announced a few rounds of sanctions against Moscow. “I hoped our partners would be smarter,” he said.

Western sanctions vs Russia and Moscow's response

Russian officials and companies came under Western sanctions, including visa bans, asset freezes, and sectoral restrictions for Russia's incorporation of Crimea after a coup in Ukraine in February and for what the West claims is Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s embattled south-east, which Russia has repeatedly denied.

In response, Moscow imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.

Sanctions are always double-edged

Sanction wars do not offer peace in Ukraine. On the contrary, they threaten the global security system, Medvedev said. “Most politicians realize that,” Medvedev said. “However, there is certain inertia of thought, and, regretfully, a desire to use force in international relations.”

“We know that at first economic sanctions come, and they are followed by political sanctions in response; and political actions are not symmetrical and are worse than limited supplies: here is a risk of breaking the security system in the world,” the prime minister said. “I hope this is not what our Western counterparts aspire, and no one is insane are among decision-makers.” “Sanctions are always double-edged,” he noted.

“Those implementing sanctions first will incur limitations; by offering problems, for others they receive problems for themselves,” Medvedev said. History knows many examples of sanctions, he said. “As a rule, they did not bring positive results. Terms were different, but they were not endless.”

Medvedev spoke about China, against which sanctions were introduced in 1989. However, the sanctions did not affect the positive development of the country’s economy. “They simply used the domestic resources,” the Russian prime minister said.

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