Thursday, 25 Feb 2021

‘Want peace? Prepare to war’ Russia in troubling warning to EU ahead of diplomatic break

Russian foreign minister issues warning to EU

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The Russian Foreign Affairs chief announced that Vladimir Putin is prepared to break off relations with the European Union if Brussels pushes ahead with planned sanctions. Mr Lavrov told the EU that Russia was prepared to act in the event that the bloc’s actions threatened Russia’s economy. In an icy warning, the Putin-ally told European leaders: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” His remarks came amid growing diplomatic tensions over Russia’s imprisonment of leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Asked in an interview whether Russia would go so far as to sever diplomatic ties with the European Union, Mr Lavrov said Russia was “ready” to do so if needed.

He told Soloviev Live: “We proceed from the fact that we’re ready.

“In the event that we again see sanctions imposed in some sectors that create risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive spheres.

“We don’t want to isolate ourselves from global life, but we have to be ready for that. If you want peace then prepare for war.” 

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It comes after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell faced calls from more than 70 MEPs to resign following his “humiliating” visit to Moscow.

Mr Borrell visited Russia last week, which turned out to be a terrible own goal for the EU.

During a joint press conference in Moscow on Friday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called the EU an “unreliable partner”.

Mr Borrell made the trip to discuss EU-Russia relations following the poisoning and imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

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During one of the talks, the EU chief also learned Russia had expelled three European diplomats for allegedly attending demonstrations in support of Mr Navalny.

But the trip only appeared to worsen relations, with several EU member states calling for sanctions to be taken against the Kremlin for its response to the meeting.

The European Commission has stood behind the EU chief, and a spokesperson for the European External Action Service said Mr Borrell has no regrets about the Moscow trip and that he delivered “clear European positions”.

Chief spokesperson Eric Mamer said Ursula von der Leyen “lends her full support to the High Representative for the trip to Moscow”.

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Mr Borrell took a grilling from MEPs in the European Parliament on Tuesday, when Belgian MEP Assita Kanko asking: “What were you thinking?”

She has urged the EU to take serious action and suggested the bloc finds a replacement for Mr Borrell.

You were warned that Lavrov would run rings around you. Yet you went into that press conference unprepared,” said Ms Kanko.

“Then you shot yourself in the foot. Twice. First by attacking our ally, the USA. Then by praising Russia’s Sputnik vaccine before it’s been authorised in Europe.”

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