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20 May, 2014 10:04

Sanctions 'sharp knife' to business in Europe and America – Medvedev

Sanctions 'sharp knife' to business in Europe and America – Medvedev

Economic sanctions against Russia will only bring the world closer to another Cold War, which is counterproductive and most of all hurts business in Europe and America, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“Let’s be honest, the sanctions are a sharp knife; European business and American business don’t need them either. The only ones who want sanctions are politicians,” the Prime Minister said in the interview aired May 20.

“Basically we are slowly but surely approaching a second Cold War that nobody needs,” Medvedev said, as he says Russia prefers not to politicize trade and economic sanctions.

The Prime Minister said the degeneration of US-Russia relations were reminiscent of Soviet times during the Cuban missile crisis of Afghanistan war. The US launched sanctions against Russian politicians, which only further exacerbated diplomatic relations.

“You know to put it simply no one is happy about sanctions since they are always a sign of tense relations. We do not support sanctions. Moreover, you may have noticed that we have not commented on them a great deal or responded to them harshly, although we probably could cause some unpleasantness with the countries that are imposing those sanctions, but it’s bad for international economic relations, relations with Europe and the United States. It’s just bad,” Medvedev said.

The US and the EU have tightened sanctions against Russia, but Moscow maintains they are an outdated practice that will only backfire and hurt business and industry on all sides.

“The sanctions have not had a significant effect on us. That doesn’t mean that we are happy about them. Again, sanctions are a dead-end, and, in fact, everyone understands this - everyone, including businesses in Europe and America," said Medvedev.

The US expanded its sanctions on April 28, which were shortly followed by a copy-paste EU version. All together, the sanctions target dozens of Russian politicians deemed critical in reuniting Crimea with Russia, 6 businessmen believed to be close to Putin’s inner circle, 3 banks and 17 companies.

Retaliatory sanctions

Moscow doesn’t rule out a set of counter sanctions to protect the Russian economy.

"Of course, there is a plan of action depending on how the situation will develop," Medvedev said.

Retaliatory measures would be reciprocal and similar to those of the West.

"If we talk of a worst case scenario, despite the fact that we object to any sanctions, our package of retaliatory measures not only includes the measures towards a gradual improvement of the situation in our economy, but also measures that might target certain states,” the Prime Minister said.

Medvedev, who himself was responsible for the so-called reset between the US and Russia, said that he was disappointed in President Obama’s politics and that he could have acted with more political finesse.

“Once a new administration comes to power in the United States and a new president takes office after Obama, these sanctions will be forgotten. In the end, nobody stands to win,” Medvedev said.

In the same interview Prime Minister Medvedev discussed the landmark gas deal due to be signed on Tuesday by Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller and his CNPC counterpart Zhou Jiping in Shanghai.