The Russian economy remains strong despite Western sanctions, largely thanks to the import substitution program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

 

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“The policy of import substitution that is being pursued by our country is yielding substantial results. Overall the Russian economy is standing strong and has adapted both to the restrictions [sanctions] and to the low oil prices,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

 

The Russian foreign minister stressed, however, that Russian-Italian ties are not benefiting in the economic sphere from the Western sanctions.

 

“We can see that the political, business and social circles in Italy are expressing, more and more actively, discontent with the sanctions policy, are calling for the return of bilateral relations to the growth trajectory,” Lavrov said.

 

He added that Italian regions are mainly against sanctions and resolutions have been adopted calling for the lifting of the restrictions in several parts of Italy.

 

Western countries have not recognized the legitimacy of the 2014 vote on the reunification of Crimea with Russia, having imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia.

 

The Russian economy suffered a setback in 2014, as the ruble lost about half of its value against the dollar amid low global oil prices and Western economic sanctions.