Updated at 14:52,24-02-2021

Russia and Belarus will not respond to EU sanctions with sanctions, Lavrov says


Russia and Belarus will not respond to the European Union’s sanctions with similar measures, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

"This is not our method," Mr. Lavrov stressed, noting that acting in accordance with the "tit-for-tat" rule would mean giving up principles. "These principles are that any issue should be resolved through the involvement of all sides in the resolution of the issue, not through compulsion," he said.

Attempts to "impose assessments, as was recently the case at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Committee, where an anti-Belarusian resolution was introduced, only mean antagonizing the participants of the process and contributing to the polarization of stances," Mr. Lavrov said.

The EU’s current pressure on Belarus is not unprecedented, he noted. "There have been precedents in the past," he said. "It is significant that each time the EU realized the hopelessness and counterproductiveness of its unilateral measures, which had never solved any problems in the world."

"It was the United States that was notorious for unilateral provocative steps that ran counter to international law and were accompanied by sanctions, but the EU has recently got infected with this as well," Mr. Lavrov said.

"Belarus does not accept the policy of sanctions, threats, dictation and blackmail," said Belarusian Foreign Minister Syarhey Martynaw. "At the same time we consider it necessary to maintain normal, smooth and constructive relations with the European Union and other partners. I’ll note that the European Union is a large trading partner of Belarus, as well as of Russia."

According to Mr. Martynaw, Russia’s support of Belarus is evident and is manifested by "our strategic relations, our relations within the framework of the existing bodies of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Zone, and the opportunity for Belarus to perform successfully economically, ensuring the well-being of its population."