RIGA, June 15. /TASS/. The war of reciprocal sanctions with Russia was kicked off by the West and hence it is the West should make the first step towards revoking these sanctions, MEP Andrejs Mamikins (Andrei Mamykin) representing Latvia said on Thursday in an interview with TASS.
"It is we who should make the first step because we initiated the introduction of sanctions against our traditional economic partner," Mamikins said. "You can dislike Russia, dislike Orthodox Christiniary, mock the intonations of the Russian language or be unable to understand while May 9 is a sacred day for the Russians but absolutely everyone, even those who take a most critical view of Russia, should realize the benefits of trade with that country because it's a huge market."
He described the past few years as a time of lost opportunities in relations with Russia.
"Moscow dealt a telling blow with its reciprocal measures to agriculture across the EU, not only in Latvia," Mamikins said adding that the sanctions had brought damage to ordinary people and to relations between them.
"When I come to Russia I see the people who spoke warmly about Jurmala (a popular Soviet-era beach city on the Baltic Sea coast TASS), the RAF minibusses (manufactured during the Soviet era at a car factory in Riga TASS) and the Baltic sprats (a fish snack of Latvian output, very popular in the former USSR and in Russia TASS) just a few years ago, now they speak with much criticism about my country," he said. "And I feel really sad tfhat we lost our image as a state over just three or two years."
Mamikins believes the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions is a matter of political will.
"Will a strong and vigorous man who will say 'No' (to sanctions) surface?" he said. "Unfortunately, political will of this kind is not anywhere in sight in Latvia, and elsewhere in Europe people are scared so far."
"If that will appears, the sanctions will be lifted," Mamikins said. "When is this going to happen? Quite possibly, this year. The prospects will get much clear after the parliamentary elections in France and Germany."
He voiced the conviction the European should put aside the problems in relations with Russia that cannot be resolved for the time being.
"For instance, I mean the situation in Crimea," Mamikins said. "It's clear as daylight Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin will never come to terms on the situation in Crimea but this problem could be put aside and they could discuss the things agreement on which is possible.".