Russia ready to cooperate with Brussels, UK

Moscow: Moscow is ready to cooperate with Brussels and London, regardless of how the UK’s exit from the EU is completed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told at a press conference on the results of 2018.

“We have always said, long before the Brexit bid was outlined, that a united, strong and, most importantly, independent EU is in our interests,” Lavrov stressed.

“We will see what happens. Naturally, we will be ready to cooperate both with the European Union and Great Britain, if everything ends with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. But we will determine what form it is better to do (to cooperate ) it in, once we get a handle on what actually took place,” he specified.

The Russian top diplomat underscored that Brexit is the affair of the UK, its residents and the country’s parliament.

“Naturally, we are not indifferent to how this will affect the European Union,” the minister noted. He added that if the EU is considered to be an organization, then this structure is Russia’s largest trading partner.

“At the national level, China is our main trading partner, but as an organization, the European Union is way ahead, even though by virtue of the sanctions, the total trade turnover fell far below record numbers when it was more than $400 billion. Now it is somewhere around $270 bln,” the diplomat said.

Lavrov also noted that Russia is not indifferent to how things are unfolding in the EU (not just regarding Brexit, but also relating to other processes occurring there that will affect the EU’s functioning) will affect our relations, primarily trade and economic ties.

“But talking about which option is the most interesting, is the type of psychology that characterizes countries and politicians who want to intervene and offer some kind of ‘orchestration’ in other states. We are not doing this,” the minister noted. As an example of such ‘orchestration’, he cited efforts to sway the position of German companies on the Nord Stream 2 project.

“These are not our approaches, so we are not saying anything about Brexit and we won’t, although some constantly say and write that Russia is rubbing its hands and gloating. Nothing of the sort,” he assured.