U.S. sanctions could remain for long; Russia to devise economic policy accordingly - Medvedev

The sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia could remain for a long time but Russia will take that into account in its policy and respond adequately to any further unfriendly moves, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Slovenian newspaper Delo on July 24.

"It is possible that the inertia of sanctions may last in the United States for a long time. It is enough to recall the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which lasted 40 years and turned from an economic into a political lever. We'll take this into account in elaborating our trade and economic policy and, if need be, adequately respond to new unfriendly actions," Medvedev said in an interview with the Slovenian Delo newspaper ahead of his visit to Ljubljana.

The restrictions imposed by Washington are "damaging" the bilateral relationship, he said. "Major U.S. companies do not want to lose their positions on Russia's promising market and yield their place to competitors from other countries, primarily from Asia. So let the United States decide itself what it would like to achieve with its sanctions. I've said more than once that we did not launch this process and won't be the ones to put an end to it," he said.

"I still hope that the United States will resume its pragmatic positions," Medvedev added.

Some in Washington have already admitted that there is no way to isolate Russia in the present-day world, and have been talking about the important role of the U.S.-Russian cooperation in resolving the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and other pressing international issues, the premier said.

Furthermore, Russia hopes that "reason and the logic of constructive and mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation will prevail among Russia's European partners," Medvedev said. "The exchange of sanctions doesn't benefit anyone. In the end, there is no getting away from each other. Russia needs Europe, and Europe needs Russia," he said.

No one gains from the slump in trade, "especially when trade barriers are artificial and are underpinned by momentary political considerations," he said.

"Have the sanctions achieved their aim? Of course, not! Have they made life more complicated? They did, but not just in Russia. You probably understand all too well that sanctions produced a boomerang effect for those who imposed them. Today, European businesses are increasingly preoccupied with the losses their countries are incurring due to the restrictions against Russia. These losses could be in the tens of billions of euros, economists say," the prime minister said.

Despite the pessimistic forecast, Russian managed to avoid the worst, he added. "Russia has and will always have a safety margin," Medvedev said.


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