Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REVISITED

After key battle, Syrian town of Kobane looks to the future

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'War is not an option,' says former FARC guerrilla leader

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Madagascar political crisis: top court orders formation of unity government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Ireland's abortion referendum

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Weinstein in court; Ireland abortion vote; Italy's populist takeover

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Sugar and spice: The flavours of the French Caribbean

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

The French are so rude! Or are they?

Read more

ENCORE!

The writing's on the wall: Revolutionary posters from May 68

Read more

REPORTERS

'We heard there might be a civil war': May 68 seen from abroad

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy. Every Wednesday at 4.45 pm Paris time and Saturday at 7.45 am.

Latest update : 2014-12-16

'We will survive sanctions,’ says Russian foreign minister

© FRANCE 24 - Sergei Lavrov talks to FRANCE 24's Marc Perelman

Western sanctions will “never” cause economic meltdown for Russia, Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview on Monday.

“Russia will not only survive but will come out much stronger,” he said, brushing aside concerns about the country's crisis-hit economy. “We have been in much worse situations in our history and every time we have got out of our fix much stronger.”

Lavrov pulled no punches over his contempt for Western-imposed sanctions, levied against Russia for its alleged meddling in a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine following the ouster of the pro-Kremlin president in February. 

He saved his most scathing comments for the EU: “Of course sanctions hurt, but I don’t believe the sanctions will help the European Union. The United States ordered the EU to impose sanctions and frankly we have overestimated the independence of the European Union [from the US].”

“Sanctions are a sign of irritation, they are not the instrument of serious policies,” he added.

Lavrov also hit out at the US Congress, which on Saturday unanimously approved the Ukraine Freedom Support Act in both houses, which includes fresh sanctions against Moscow.

When asked if he believed the US was trying to impose regime change in Moscow by undermining the Russian economy, Lavrov said he had “very serious reasons to believe this is the case”.

“If you look at US Congress, 80 percent of them have never left the USA, so I’m not surprised about Russophobia in Congress,” he said.

Lavrov insisted Russia was determined to find a solution for the Ukrainian crisis and that Russia “supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

But when asked if this included Crimea, which split from Ukraine in March 2014, Lavrov said: “Crimea is unique, it is the one and only, it is Russian land. It was the will of the [Crimean people].”

Lavrov also discussed Russian policy towards NATO, which has “cut practically all ties with Russia” while moving “close to the Russian border” but still wanted Russian help training Afghan pilots.

“It’s childish – but what to do?” he said. “Sometimes the big boys play games.”

On the subject of France’s decision to suspend the delivery of two Mistral-class warships to Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis, Lavrov said he would not comment on a deal that “is about a signed legal contract and the dignity of the French nation”.

By FRANCE 24

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-05-26 Americas

'War is not an option,' says former FARC guerrilla leader

As presidential elections in Colombia approach, FRANCE 24 sits down with former FARC Guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono, better known as Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez, in an...

Read more

2018-05-24 Africa

Presidential meeting signals 'another chapter' in Franco-Rwandan relations

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said "another chapter" is beginning for Kigali and Paris. Relations between the two countries have...

Read more

2018-05-23 nuclear Iran

'We are seeking a new deal', Pompeo advisor says on Iran

Brian Hook is a senior policy advisor to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In an interview with FRANCE 24, he laid out the US position on Iran following Donald Trump's...

Read more

2018-05-16 Americas

'We are persecuted by KKK,' Maduro says of Trump era

As Venezuela holds its presidential election on Sunday, President Nicolas Maduro’s opponent has asked how the vote can possibly be fair amid ongoing repression and as opposition...

Read more

2018-05-16 Middle East

Former Iranian FM urges EU to show 'independence' from US on nuclear deal

Kamal Kharrazi is the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations and was foreign minister from 1997 to 2005. In an interview with FRANCE 24, he reacted to the US...

Read more