Russia urges EU to lift sanctions, promises to waive counter-measures

Russia urges EU to lift sanctions, promises to waive counter-measures
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) president Alexander Shokhin (L) at an annual congress of the union in Moscow on March 20, 2014.

MOSCOW - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov urged the European Union to lift sanctions against Moscow over the Ukrainian conflict and promised to waive its counter-measures, Interfax news agency reported on Saturday.

Moscow in August banned most Western food imports, worth US$9 billion (S$11.7 billion) a year, in response to US and European Union sanctions over Russia's role in Ukraine. "We don't expect anything from our European partners. The only thing we expect is for them to leave the meaningless sanctions spiral and move on to the path of lifting the sanctions and dropping the blacklists.

This, in its turn, would allow us to drop our lists," Meshkov was quoted as saying. "This will be conducive for us to waive counter-measures,"he added. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said lower oil prices and Western financial sanctions will cost Russia around US$130 billion-US$140 billion a year, equivalent to around 7 per cent of its economy.

Meshkov put the losses from sanctions for the EU at US$50 billion next year, adding that trade turnover in some products between Russia and Europe has declined by double digit percentages.

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