Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Rival Libyan leaders back ceasefire, elections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Western men 'less fertile' due to modern living, scientists warn

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A 'crazy gamble': Luc Besson's €197m blockbuster 'Valerian' hits French cinemas

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New KitKat factory to cater for exotic flavours

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

John McCain's healthcare vote backlash

Read more

THE DEBATE

The Macron Touch: Can the new French president be Libya's peacemaker?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Maduro's regime is a criminal dictatorship'

Read more

FOCUS

Kenyan authorities step up security amid Al-Shabaab threat

Read more

ENCORE!

Rock icons Midnight Oil on politics, passion and their long-awaited comeback

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

2017-07-25 Americas

'Maduro's regime is a criminal dictatorship'

Venezuelan opposition figure Maria Corina Machado tells FRANCE 24 that the next few days will be decisive in the crisis engulfing her country. She says the opposition is calling...

Read more

2017-07-21 Iran

Iran open to dialogue with Saudis, says top diplomat

Kamal Kharrazi, the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations and a foreign policy adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told FRANCE 24 on Friday that Iran was open to...

Read more

2017-07-19 Europe

'Looking for Lenin': The search for fallen Soviet statues in Ukraine

For decades of Soviet empire, statues of founding father Vladimir Lenin presided triumphantly over city squares and parks. When the USSR collapsed in 1990, thousands of Lenin...

Read more

2017-07-18 Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen: 'I'm not worried about extradition to Turkey'

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Fethullah Gulen - who is accused by Ankara of masterminding the July 2016 coup bid in Turkey - admits meeting a key figure in the failed...

Read more

2017-07-08 Asia-pacific

Songlines through opera: The tales of Australia's indigenous communities

Annette Young meets Australian Aboriginal opera singer, Deborah Cheetham, who is a member of the "Stolen Generation." For nearly 100 years up until the 1970s, thousands of...

Read more