Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lukashenka: EU damaged by its own sanctions

By Maryna Nosava, BelaPAN

Alyaksandr Lukashenka suggested on Thursday that the European Union`s sanctions against Belarus and Russia had been "initiated not by Europe."

"The EU is suffering much damage [as a result of the sanctions] but it is too dependent on another center of forces," he said while inaugurating a train plant in Fanipal, Minsk region, which is co-owned by Switzerland`s Stadler Rail Group.

Mr. Lukashenka said that the sanctions had no impact on relations between the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and Russia. "We are at the start of the road to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union. We have begun cooperation in economy and will continue going this way," he said.

Many European businessmen, including Stadler owner Peter Spuhler, oppose the sanctions because they harm all sides, said Mr. Lukashenka. He added that some European politicians were already starting to talk about the abolition of the sanctions.

"No matter what sanctions there may be, people on the other side and here, in the East, are way smarter than those who introduced these sanctions. And they will find a way to circumvent them and ways of cooperation in all spheres," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka expressed certainty that "we will overcome these sanctions with the help of people such as Spuhler." "No one will make them throw the money that they have invested down in the dirt. Politicians will not manage to do that. There will be no such politicians, businesspeople will throw them on the scrap heap," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka warned that there was no need to dramatize the situation. "Russia and all of us together will survive [the sanctions]," he said.