Pushkov proposes broadening Russian countermeasures if EU extends sanctions

State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov thinks that Russia should consider broader countermeasures if the European Union chooses to extend anti-Russian sanctions.

State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov thinks that Russia should consider broader countermeasures if the European Union chooses to extend anti-Russian sanctions.

"We should probably single out certain areas and, if the sanctions are extended for long, think whether or not our countermeasures should be limited to European agricultural products. Europe should understand that it will have to pay a price for the policy the EU has been holding. In my opinion, we should not be restricting our [countermeasures]," Pushkov said at parliament hearings in the State Duma on Monday.

He said it would be extremely dangerous to create an illusion that the policy of sanctions might go unpunished.

"I do not think it would be right to demonstrate our goodwill if they impose sanctions on us," he said.

"We can protect not only our agriculture, we can protect other spheres too and do harm to European suppliers. Are they sacred cows, are they untouchables?" Pushkov wondered.

"Brussels makes its decisions; it is an independent player. And we should decide how to respond and, probably, even inform them about countermeasures we will apply if they extend the sanctions. I think we should consider this option," the State Duma committee chairman said.

He added that he did not favor escalating tensions.

"But we cannot always meet them halfway and wait for what Brussels will decide. Let Brussels wait and see what Moscow may decide," Pushkov said.

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