Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexei Meshkov, has ruled out negotiating with the West about the criteria for repealing sanctions, imposed two years ago, under the context of the Ukrainian crisis.


We need to exit the labyrinth, but we will not discuss the criteria for the lifting of these anti-Russian measures, said the Deputy Foreign Minister during a speech to the State Duma.


The minister reiterated that those who imposed the sanctions should be the ones to take the first step, warning that Russia is willing to cooperate for mutual benefit with the West, but only if it is in Russia’s interest.


“If they pressure us, we will think of other steps in response, in accordance with Russia’s reputation as a responsible actor in the international arena,” he said.


In his view, the referendum held in the Netherlands on the ratification or not of the agreement between the EU and Ukraine showed that sanctions and anti-Russian policy also bother the Europeans.


Ukraine begun the process of joining the EU in 2007, a process that was paralyzed in 2013 after mass protests in Kiev in late 2013, followed by a coup. The Deputy Foreign Minister drew attention to the fact that a Dutch poll showed that 61.1percent of voters in the Netherlands reject Ukraine’s accession to the EU.




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