MOSCOW, June 18. / TASS /. Russia and the United Kingdom began work to normalize economic relations following Brexit, said Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin on Thursday in an interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.
"We are starting to drill in this direction with the available capabilities," said he. Kelin emphasized that the dialogue between Russia and Great Britain is now at the very initial stages.
"I know that British ambassador to Moscow, Deborah Bronnert, is taking certain steps in this direction. We need to try to develop simple and understandable trading rules, based on which we could interact, including within the WTO," Kelin added.
Kelin noted that Great Britain is currently busy overcoming the difficult economic consequences associated with the country's exit from the European Union, and is trying to cope with many challenges at the same time. "Of course, I understand very well that dialogue with Russia is not their number one priority now, but they do not forget about it, and we do not forget about it," the diplomat said. Kelin explained that the UK was and remains an important economic partner for Russia: trade turnover is approximately $17-19 bln, which is comparable to the volume of trade between Russia and France.
The UK left the EU on February 1, 2020 after three years of negotiating exit conditions. Brussels and London have agreed on a transitional period until the end of this year, during which all European standards apply to the United Kingdom. During this time, the parties must agree on a document on how to build future relations. London has consistently stated its reluctance to extend the transition period, although the time remaining until the end of the year may not be enough to complete the negotiations that have taken place remotely in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both sides accuse each other of not wanting to compromise and say that they have not yet been able to make much progress.