MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. The European Union (EU) remains an important partner for Russia, and there are no objective obstacles for developing bilateral relations despite US efforts to hamper them, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Luxemburger Wort newspaper ahead of his visit to Luxembourg.
"I can say with confidence that the EU has been and remains an important trade and economic partner for us. Despite existing difficulties and persistent US attempts to slow down the development of our relations, I am sure that there are no objective obstacles for constructive cooperation between Russia and the EU," Medvedev said. He added that Russia and the EU have so many historical, cultural, economic and geographical ties that there is only one path for them, and that is a path of cooperation.
Commenting on the statement that Luxembourg is not very enthusiastic about sanctions against Russia, the Russian prime minister said that it may be explained by the fact that the Grand Duchy remains loyal to its foreign policy traditions. "To be honest, I don't see any enthusiasm about anti-Russian sanctions in other EU countries as well," Medvedev noted. He reminded that the sancitons were initially introduced "against the backdrop of complications in relations between Russia and the West, when the US and several European countries supported an armed coup in Kiev in February 2014."
"What was the main goal of those sanctions? To undermine our economy. As you can see, this attempt failed," Medvedev said . "Current sanctions only slow down the development of relations with European partners, and everybody sustains losses from this," he added.
"We were forces to introduce reciprocal restrictions. However, we said it from the very start - we did not initiate the sanctions war, and we are ready to lift our restrictions immediately, as soon as the other side makes a first step," the prime minister noted. "The European Union follows the US, like it has been enchanted, and continues to extend its sanctions year after year," he added.
"Let's be real here - nobody needs that, and nobody benefits from it," Medvedev said adding that many Russian partners "understand that there are no prospects for this course."
Talking about sancitons imposed on Russia, the prime minister noted that "everybody has a right for their own fallacies." "However, I cannot agree with the assessment of sanctions as 'a necessary response'. Necessary to whom? To Crimeans who made their conscious and free choice in the framework of one of the most democratic procedures - at a referendum? Or to Rusians in eastern Ukraine? I am sure that they have a different view on the so-called peaceful Ukrainian 'winter, summer and autumn'," Medvedev explained.