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Powerful US influence drove EU to slap new sanctions on Russia, Lavrov says

According to media reports, the new sanctions will be discussed at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting on February 18

SOCHI, February 13. /TASS/. The anti-Russian sanctions of the European Union in light of the situation in the Kerch Strait are being taken under Washington’s powerful pressure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday, commenting on reports of possible new sanctions of the EU and the US against Russia.

"We said long ago that we do not discuss sanctions with anyone. We want to improve our economy and trade with normal Western partners so that not to depend on anybody’s whims - in this case the whims of those who did not keep their word and did not make the opposition carry out their agreements with [former Ukrainian] President [Viktor] Yanukovich," the minister noted.

"We are also dealing with the people who introduced sanctions over the Crimeans’ expression of will and over the events evolving in the region in general, in particular in eastern Ukraine."

"I see it as another evidence of the Europeans’ inability to make [Ukrainian President Pyotr] Poroshenko implement the Minsk accords. As far as they cannot rule their clients, something has to be done, and they resorted to another package of sanctions," Lavrov pointed out.

"We know that these sanctions are being taken under the US’ powerful pressure, which again proves the European Union’s dependence. It is sad, but we are open for dialogue. However, we will proceed from the fact that we should not depend on people who act so, including with their obligations regarding the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis in February 2014," the Russian top diplomat stressed.

On Tuesday, the British TV channel Sky News said, citing its sources, that Brussels and Washington are working over new sanctions against Moscow in response to Russia’s detention of Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait in November last year. The British newspaper Financial Times wrote that the sanctions will be discussed at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting on February 18 and will be implemented in two months, before late March.