Sergey Lavrov said Russia has followed the Minsk agreements it agreed with EU nations Germany and France, which were drawn up to bring peace with Ukraine in 2014 following the war over the Crimea Peninsula. But the Russian diplomat added the bloc now appeared to be still prioritising “anti-Russian” sanctions instead of helping Russia on other political matters. He told Russian newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta: “Moscow implements the Minsk agreements.
“The Russophobic minority in the European Union is openly capitalising on the principle of consensus.
“It has little to do with practical politics, it rather looks like an obsession with the sanctions.”
In December, the EU announced it would extend its sanctions until 31 July 2020.
These sanctions are said to have contributed to the collapse of the Russian ruble.
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They are also thought to have caused economic damage to a number of EU countries, with total losses estimated at €100 billion.
Mr Lavrov added talks on visa-free travel were also suspended, which resulted in a number of Russian officials being banned from entering the European Union and their assets frozen too.
In response, Moscow imposed a ban on imports of a number of food products from the European Union.
Mr Lavrov also said Ukraine was siding with the EU rather than helping Russia get its sanctions lifted.
Mr Lavrov warned European businesses were seeing “losses of many dozens, if not hundreds, of billions of euros” due to the sanctions.
He said: “Many representatives from the European Union member nations tell us in private conversations that they are against the sanctions, that these sanctions are harmful.
“But they have the principle of solidarity, the principle of consensus.
“As far as I understand, consensus is a consent among all.
“And is someone, and there are a lot of them, as they tell us in bilateral contacts, is against the sanctions, there cannot be any consensus.
“And what we have now is this Russophobic minority abusing this consensus rule to make all the rest stick to this absolutely ungrounded and absurd position that the sanctions should depend on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.”
The EU has always been clear it strongly condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea and does not recognise it.
Since spring 2014, the EU has supported economic and political reforms in Ukraine.
The bloc has said it will reverse it will “re-engage” with Russia when it starts contributing to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis, according to Europa.
The European Council also made the decision at the end of last year to extend the sanction following an update by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over Russia’s behaviour.
The council said in a statement at the time: “Given that the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented, the European Council unanimously took the political decision to renew the economic sanctions against Russia.”