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Ties with UK may improve after Brexit, but not too soon — Russian senator

"It’s always easier for us to establish ties with sovereign nations, who don’t need to obey rules of others," he said

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Russia’s bilateral ties with the United Kingdom may eventually improve after Brexit, but not in the short-term period, chairman of the Russian Federation Council's Committee on International Relations Konstantin Kosachev told reporters on Saturday.

"It’s always easier for us to establish ties with sovereign nations, who don’t need to obey rules of others. Russian-UK ties may get even worse after Brexit, but, at some point, they can become even better than ties with the United States or the European Union, simply because the United Kingdom will be guided by its own interests," the Russian senator said.

"The United Kingdom will no longer need to take into account numerous phobias of Baltic states or Poland that weigh down any attempt by sensible forces in Brussels to improve ties with Russia," he continued.

Kosachev said that bilateral ties are unlikely to improve in the short-term perspective, because London was among the staunchest critics of Russia within the framework of EU, especially in the wake of the Skripal incident.

"At present, London’s measures against Russia are likely to be even harsher than those of Brussels. However, I would not rush to make categorical forecasts, especially long-term ones," he said.

Dangerous precedent

By quitting the European Union, the United Kingdom has set a dangerous precedent and dealt a blow to the ‘European dream,’ Kosachev told reporters .

"This is certainly a blow to the European dream and the soft power of the European Union. It is clear that permanently subsidized post-Socialist countries are far from the idea of quitting the comfortable union, where 'elder brothers’ in Brussels decide everything for them. But the precedent has been set, and it is dangerous just because it is a precedent," Kosachev said.

The Russian senator said that Brexit undermines and puts into question attempts to portray the EU membership as "every nation's ultimate aspiration."

"Earlier, EU membership was seen as an actualization of the people’s ‘centuries-long aspirations for independence’ (this may sound absurd, but EuroMaidan protesters really thought so). Britain shattered this idea in one blow. It’s either the EU or independence - namely, sovereignty and the right to determine your future, or even the curvature of your cucumbers, on your own - this is what Brexit means when translated into common terms," Kosachev continued.

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union. Brexit took place at 23:00 GMT, or 00:00 CET. An hour before this turning point in the UK’s political history, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, an ardent Brexit supporter, delivered his address to the nation.

After January 31, the UK and the EU enter a transition period meant to maintain the status quo, particularly on trade and tariffs, while the two sides are negotiating a deal on future trading relations. The transition period is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020. London is also obliged to continue paying membership fees to the EU budget until the end of 2020.