Russia announced its willingness to cut ties with the European Union if the latter decided to impose more harsh economic sanctions on it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “We are ready for this. If you want peace, prepare for war.”
The European Union has raised the possibility of imposing more sanctions, in light of a dispute over the treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Lavrov said that the severance of relations could happen if the European Union imposes sanctions that “are enough to threaten our economy.”
The Russian official added, in an interview on a local YouTube channel, “We do not want to isolate ourselves from the world, but we have to be prepared for that.”
The past week witnessed the expulsion of three European Union diplomats, and the latter responded in kind, amid a row over the Navalny case.
Russia justified its decision to expel the diplomats by taking part in an unauthorized pro-Naval demonstration – a claim the European Union denies.
Russia’s announcement of its decision coincided with a visit by European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell.
In contrast, countries in the European Union –It is Germany, Poland, and Sweden – This week the expulsion of three Russian diplomats.
More EU economic sanctions
Borrell told members of the European Parliament on Tuesday that the next step “may include sanctions, and I will work to put forward proposals.”
Last October, the Union imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials and a Russian chemical weapons center, accusing them of involvement last August in the poisoning of Navalny, in a manner that nearly eliminated him.
A number of figures close to Russian President Vladimir Putin are subject to sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, which include asset freezes and travel bans. Its history dates back to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.
Many members of the European Parliament demanded that Borrell resign from his post, saying that his trip to Moscow was “humiliating”, but EU leaders did not support those demands.
Borrell told members of the European Parliament that the Kremlin had not left “any room for the rule of law in a democratic framework.” Any alternative to President Putin is crushed. “They are relentlessly suffocating any attempt.”
Navalny is in court again
Navalny will appear in court again; The prominent opponent is facing allegations of defaming a veteran of World War Two. Navalny argues that the case is fabricated.
This month, Navalny received a sentence of nearly three years in prison in another case, which many believe is politically motivated.
On February 22, the European Union foreign ministers will meet, and they are expected to discuss imposing more sanctions on Russia.