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EU’s response to Moscow’s pushback on sanctions shows ‘mania for impunity’ that will ‘lead to nowhere’, says Russian FM Lavrov

EU’s response to Moscow’s pushback on sanctions shows ‘mania for impunity’ that will ‘lead to nowhere’, says Russian FM Lavrov
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed recent EU complaints concerning Moscow’s retaliation against sanctions imposed on Russia, calling out officials in Brussels as being possessed by feelings of impunity.

Foreign restrictions placed on Russian citizens and entities are “groundless and illegitimate” and “will not be left unanswered,” Lavrov said during a trip to Armenia on Thursday.

In retaliation for several rounds of sanctions imposed against Russian officials, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced on April 30 that it was blacklisting eight European officials, including European Parliament chief David Sassoli and European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova. Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell slammed Moscow’s declaration of the travel ban against the Europeans as “unacceptable, devoid of any legal justification and baseless.”

Lavrov said that Moscow targeted only those Europeans who “played a decisive role in yet another wave of sanctions against our officials, including lawmakers.”

When the European Union begins to threaten us with new sanctions, I begin to think that – apart from the sense of complete permissiveness and infallibility – the European Union gets possessed by the mania of total impunity.

“I believe it’s a road to nowhere,” Lavrov said. The minister pointed out that Western countries initiated the sanctions war against Moscow in 2014, when Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, following the Euromaidan revolt in Kiev.

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Russia and a number of European states have been expelling each other’s diplomats in recent months, after the Czech Republic alleged that Russian secret agents were behind two explosions at Czech ammunition depots. Moscow denies any involvement in the case.

On March 2, Brussels blacklisted four high-ranking Russian officials, including Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov, for their role in “the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing” of opposition activist Alexey Navalny, and over “the repression of peaceful protests.” Navalny was jailed for two years and eight months in early February for violating the terms of his parole, which dates back to a 2014 fraud conviction.

Lavrov was holding talks with his Armenian counterpart Ara Ayvazyan on bilateral relations and the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, where Armenia lost a bloody six-week-long war with Azerbaijan last year. He also met with the country’s Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Lavrov is set to visit Baku next week.

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