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Russia says EU sanctions are outside framework of international law

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By Philip Pangalos
Russia says EU sanctions are outside framework of international law

Russia's foreign minister said that European Union sanctions against Russia are outside the framework of international law.

Speaking at a meeting of the Association of European Businesses and referring to the Nord Stream 2 undersea natural gas pipeline project from Russia to Germany, Sergei Lavrov did not hesitate to throw the ball in the European Commission's court.

"The implementation of large infrastructure projects is underway and Nord Stream 2 is one of those. The options for the terrestrial gas transportation pipeline in the European direction are under consideration. However, bearing in mind the lessons from South Stream, the final decision presupposes extremely solid guarantees from the European Commission," Mr Lavrov said.

Germany's Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier stressed that sanctions do not benefit his country. He said, however, that Berlin adopted them for political reasons, but now needs to work so that relations on a political level can change, so that there are results.

Last week, the European Union decided to enforce strict regulations regarding gas pipelines, including Nord Stream 2, which will double Russian imports to Germany through the Baltic, reducing the corresponding flow through Ukraine.

Russia and Germany agree that the rules will not stop the project, but will significantly slow it down.

In a meeting with Sergei Lavrov, European businessmen stressed that a brake in activity is not only due to European sanctions but also due to Russian sanctions. The Russian Foreign Minister said that retaliatory sanctions positively influence the Russian economy and especially agriculture. He added that the European Union has been "contaminated with the virus of US arbitrariness", calling at the same time on Europeans to lift the sanctions.