Russia to extend counter-sanctions after G7's decisions

Moscow will not lift its counter-sanctions against Western countries anytime soon, taking into consideration the G7's decision to extend sanctions against Russia, says Russian presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov.

Moscow will not lift its counter-sanctions against Western countries anytime soon, taking into consideration the G7's decision to extend sanctions against Russia, says Russian presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov.

"As far as we know, a G7 summit has just taken place, which has extended the effect of sanctions against Russia. Therefore, it is absolutely logical to presume that Russia will also extend its sanctions," Ivanov said at the World Congress of Russian Press currently being held in Moscow.

"When we announced our counter-sanctions, or any sanctions in general - this is a double-edged sword, one of the edges being negative and the other positive. Of course, the sanctions have had a negative impact on us, this is obvious. Access to credit resources has been blocked, and our inflation has accelerated," Ivanov said.

"There are negative things, but there are positive ones, too. Our agribusiness sector has gotten a gulp of oxygen and has trusted the government that the government is providing it with tangible opportunities for development," he said.

A number of industries in the domestic agricultural sector have shown excellent growth, he said.

While the Western sanctions have increased inflation in Russia to 11.9 percent, and its GDP has dropped by nearly 2.9 percent, the sanctions have also had a positive effect, Ivanov said. "Our agricultural sector has gotten a great opportunity for development, which includes the meat and dairy industry and others," he said.

"If we lift our counter-sanctions, which has been suggested to us, we will let an unlimited flow of cheap Western products to our territory," he said.

"We'd better live longer under sanctions, and then some of our important sectors would get a powerful stimulus for development," Ivanov said.

Asked by some forum participants whether Moscow could be the first to lift its sanctions, Ivanov replied, "As concerns our counter-sanctions and the possibility that we could lift them, I worked at the Foreign Ministry for 15 years and therefore will say diplomatically: I really doubt this, it's extremely unlikely," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in summing up the outcomes of the G7 summit in Bavaria on June 8 that the sanctions against Russia could be toughened if the situation in Ukraine worsens.

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