Russia 'has no plans to sever EU ties, will respond to further hostility'
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 25 February 2021 11:20 AM
Russia's envoy to the European Union (EU) says his country has no plans to sever relations with the EU but if the bloc adopts further "destructive" measures against Moscow, they "definitely won't go without consequences."
Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov made the remarks in a televised interview with Rossiya-24 news channel on Wednesday, TASS news agency reported.
"In case of further destructive steps from the European Union, Russia will not let grass grow under its feet, but will find corresponding ways and means to influence the situation. We can call it an asymmetric response, but those steps definitely won't go without consequences," he stressed.
The relations between Russia and the European bloc strained when Brussels initially imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 over the conflict in Ukraine and Crimea's unification with Russia.
Crimea joined Russia following a referendum in which more than 90 percent of participants voted in favor of unification.
Bilateral ties came under renewed pressure over Western-backed blogger Alexei Navalny's detention and an alleged crackdown on protests for his release in the past couple of months.
The arrest sparked talk of new EU sanctions, especially after Moscow expelled German, Polish, and Swedish diplomats for taking part in pro-Navalny protests earlier this month.
On Monday, the 27-member bloc agreed to impose what it described as "landmark sanctions," including asset freezes and travel bans, against a number of senior Russian security service officials over the alleged crackdown on Navalny's supporters.
Moscow says the West is exploiting the case of Navalny for political reasons and using it as a pretext to impose more sanctions against Russia.
"Everything that has been, regrettably, frozen in our relations with the EU until now is the result of the steps by our valiant EU counterparts and those who support them from all the sides," Chizhov said. "Therefore, there has never been any talk that Russia would sever ties with the European Union on its own initiative."
Chizhov's comments came less than two weeks after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened that Moscow would be ready to sever ties with the EU if the bloc imposed more sanctions on Russia.
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