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Russia rules out negotiations with EU on lifting sanctions
Moscow is not going to discuss with the European Union (EU) about conditions for lifting its sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
"Moscow would not negotiate criteria of lifting sanctions with the EU," Lavrov said after talks with his visiting Austrian counterpart, Sebastian Kurz.
"This is not our decision and this is not up to us to cancel it. We are not going to deal with that," he added. "Russia acts according to the real situation, not hopes and expectations."
Lavrov noted that the reality requires Russia to become self-reliant and self-sufficient in sectors that used to depend on cooperation with foreign countries.
However, the top diplomat said that Russia would continue cooperation with the EU if the unilateral sanctions are lifted.
He blasted the EU's attempts to link the lifting of sanctions with the implementation of the Minsk accord over the Ukraine crisis.
"Judging from some signs, someone in the EU wants to indulge the Ukrainian authorities not to implement the Minsk agreements," he said, adding that the EU believes the deal is obligatory for Russia only.
He said Moscow suspects that Kiev is trying to derail the upcoming meeting of the three-party Contact Group by intensifying shelling of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
Lavrov called on Kurz to highlight the Russian concern during the Austrian foreign minister's visit to Kiev due on Wednesday.
[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 05May15]
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