SUDAK /Republic of Crimea/, August 12. /TASS/. Moscow remains open to cooperation after the 2014 events in Ukraine, but is ready for the fact that its Western partners can be unreliable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with members of the Tavrida art cluster on Thursday.
He noted that Western sanctions had taught Russia to rely only on itself. "These events after Ukraine with sanctions and everything else taught us that we must rely primarily on ourselves for our development, leaving the door open to any partners but remembering, at the same time, that they, I mean [our] Western [partners], are unreliable," Russia’s top diplomat said.
Lavrov stressed that Russia, in response to Western sanctions, took countermeasures that strengthened its independence and gave impetus to the development of a number of areas, including agriculture, which "will continue to develop at a very rapid pace." "We were also able to launch such processes in industry, the military-industrial complex that made us independent, <…>, most importantly, from [our] Western partners, who had a certain monopoly in the high-tech sphere. Now they have encouraged us to fill all the gaps that we still had," he explained.
The issue at hand is not self-isolation or confrontation, he went on to say. "We continue to be ready to cooperate with everyone in the development of our transport corridors and in the development of any programs, scientific and technological, in the energy sector and so on. However, we will do so being fully aware and, taking into account past experience, that, if, at some point, some of our partners decide to punish us for something again, we will not suffer any damage from the termination of a relevant project and will rely on our own strength," Lavrov concluded.