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Russia warns it's ready to cut ties with European Union
By Caoimhe Toman
Date: Friday 12 Feb 2021
LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Russia Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in an interview on Friday that his country is ready to sever ties with the European Union if needed.
His comments were posted to the ministry's website on Friday.
They marked but the latest escalation in tensions between the two sides with the relationship having hit a new low during the preceding week after the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, visited his counterpart in Moscow.
Borrell voiced the bloc's opposition to the arrest of activist Alexei Navalny and after the trip accused Russia of putting together "an aggressively-staged press conference".
He also said that he had only learned via Twitter during a meeting with Lavrov that Russia had expelled three EU diplomats for attending demonstrations in support of Navalny.
"An aggressively-staged press conference and the expulsion of three EU diplomats during my visit indicate that the Russian authorities did not want to seize this opportunity to have a more constructive dialogue with the EU," Borrell said in a blog post two days after his trip.
He also suggested imposing sanctions on Russia, prompting Lavrov's response.
"We proceed from the fact that we are ready (to cut ties). In the event that we again see sanctions imposed in some sectors that create risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive spheres," according to a translation of the comments by Reuters.
"We don't want to isolate ourselves from global life, but we have to be ready for that. If you want peace then prepare for war," Lavrov added.
In remarks to the press, Lavrov said that, "the EU is not a reliable partner, at least at the current stage."