The Russian Prime Minister has acknowledged that relations with the EU have become more complicated, but assured foreign trade representatives that the situation in Ukraine would not become a barrier between Russia and Europe.
Despite the current crisis and the sanctions against Russian citizens and companies, Moscow is interested in further development of mutually beneficial relations with European nations, Dmitry Medvedev said in a speech on Wednesday.
“This is true that the Ukrainian crisis has complicated our relations with the European Union. Sometimes these events are called a dividing ridge between Europe’s past and future. But this is not true for our country – the EU will remain our major trade partner for a long time and we value our reputation as a reliable supplier,” the Russian Prime Minister stated.
At the same time, Medvedev emphasized that Russia would use all lawful means to protect its business interests in the current complicated conditions.
“I would like to raise the issue of protecting Russian companies’ interests. All cases of discrimination must be thoroughly monitored and if possible such actions should be foreseen. We must protect our interests, explain the meaning of our reciprocal moves and the reasons behind them,” the Russian PM said.
In particular, the head of the government promised Russia would introduce protective measures if the association between Ukraine and EU causes significant risks to the Russian economy.
“We consider the risks to be serious, especially when technical regulations and sanitary control are concerned. We are now holding consultations with the EU and with our partners from the Customs Union as under certain conditions we will have to introduce protective measures,” Medvedev said.
Even before the Ukrainian situation took a violent turn and ended in the deposing of President Viktor Yanukovich, Russian officials warned that if Ukraine entered the association agreement with the EU Russia would have to protect its markets and seriously limit the trade with its Western neighbor.
The Russian PM also said that foreign nations were often using sanctions against Russia as an excuse for protectionist measures imposed in the interests of certain corporations. Such moves completely contradict the obligations given by all countries when they joined the WTO, he added.