RUSSIA has warned that it will cut its ties to the European Union (EU) if the bloc imposes sanctions on Moscow for its treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, told local media that Russia would seek a “break” from European relations if the EU imposes threatened economic sanctions against the country. He warned Brussels that “if you want peace, prepare for war” – saying Moscow would sever EU ties if proposed sanctions “create risks for out economy”.
His stark warnings come as Brussels-Moscow relations remain tense following the case of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. This month the outspoken Putin critic was jailed for three years in a court ruling that has caused an outcry in the EU. Russia and the bloc have expelled three of each other’s ambassadors as tensions escalate.
The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, decried what he described as the Russian government’s crackdown on political opposion – saying that Putin’s leadership is “merciless in stifling any attempts” to voice dissent in the country. Meanwhile, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the press that “energy ties are almost the last bridge between Russia and Europe” as diplomatic relations plummet.
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