Russia is in no hurry to resume dialogues with the West, according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He stated on Wednesday that Russia does not anticipate the US and its allies to terminate their sanctions anytime soon.
During a roundtable discussion with Russian ambassadors in Moscow, Lavrov stated, “We understand perfectly well that the sanctions imposed against us will not go away in the foreseeable future, and even in the longer term.” He also mentioned, “we do not need relief not because we choose isolationism or self-sufficiency, but because the West decided to destroy the world economy for the sake of teaching Russia a lesson.”
This is seen as a diplomatic manner of Russia saying that it has found ways to survive and thrive despite the sanctions. It also serves as a message to the West that Russia is not desperately seeking to lift the sanctions.
Lavrov also highlighted the cost of sanctions to European nations, which rejected Russian energy and raw materials and lost its market due to their decision to conduct an economic decoupling. He conservatively estimated the cost at €250 billion ($266.6 billion).
Furthermore, Lavrov specifically mentioned the “terrorist attacks” against the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines in September 2022, saying they “put an end to the hopes in Europe that someday cheap gas will be back and stimulate their economy once again.”
The threat to the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines is another indication that the West is attempting to undermine Russian economic interests. It is a strategic way to show the West that Russia is facing other challenges, but it is not succumbing to them.
According to Lavrov, the anti-Russia sanctions have worsened the existing imbalances in the global economy, including those stemming from the Western push for a fast transition to renewable energy amid the slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Western nations ramped up sanctions pressure against Russia after the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities in February 2022. Moscow perceives them as one element in a proxy war in which Ukrainian people are sacrificed by Washington. The Russian government has repeatedly insisted that the country has withstood the attempts to strangle its economy through sanctions.
In conclusion, Russia’s stance that it does not need relief from the sanctions conveys a message of defiance. It also serves as a subtle way to highlight how Russia has managed to withstand the economic pressure. The underlying message is that Russia is not at the mercy of the West and will continue to pursue its interests, regardless of the sanctions.