Europe to lose its share of Russian market due to ‘foolish’ sanctions – Russian PM

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Europe will not regain its share of the Russian market after the sanctions war is over, as it will already be occupied by other local and foreign businesses, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned.

Russia and the West will eventually “come to agreements sooner or later, as sanctions don’t last forever,” Medvedev said in an interview with Vesti 24 TV channel.

“These foolish sanctions will pass, but international relations will continue. And currency markets will open up,” he added.

The prime minister stressed that “the niches in our [Russian] economy, which will by then be occupied by local produces or other foreign producers…our European counterparts wouldn’t be able to come back.”

According to Medvedev, “this is the price Europe will have to pay” for trying to put Russia under economic pressure.

He assured that Asian and Latin American companies – which will replace the Europeans on the Russian market – will maintain their positions after relations between Moscow and the EU return to normal.

We’re decent people. If we reach agreements then we fulfill the existing contracts, including those with our Latin American and Asian counterparts, of course. And those of our Western partners, who’ll be eager to return, will only be able to take the remaining share, nothing more,” he explained.

Medvedev has labeled the European Union’s decision to sanction Moscow in the investment sphere as “senseless,” but promised that Russia “will get through this.”

The prime minister went on to say that the damage to the Russian economy is not done by sanctions, but by internal limitations within the country.

“What’s the problem with the current situation in the Russian economy? It’s not in the sanctions. The damage done by sanctions equals around five percent and everything else is our internal structural constraints; the misalignment of our economy that has developed already in 20th century,” he explained.

At the same time, Medvedev stressed that – despite current tensions – Russia has no plan to abandon the European markets.

“We supply between 130 billion to 140 billion cubic meters of gas and 200 million tons of oil to Europe. For us, it’s a very important market. A market that we conquered,” he said.

“If our European partners want make an absurd decision to oust us from this market, we will stay there, as it’s exciting for us,” the prime minister added.

But if the EU continues to act with prejudice towards Russia, “many of our products, a significant portion our resources, and much of our trade will switch to the Asia-Pacific region,” Medvedev said.

After the Republic of Crimea reunited with Russia this March, the US and EU introduced several waves of sanctions against Russian politicians and businessmen, and some of their assets, as well as major banks, oil, and defense companies.

Moscow replied to the restrictive measures from the West by placing a year-long ban on food imports from the US and European Union member states beginning August 7.

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