Relations between Moscow and Brussels are now at their “lowest point,”Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told TASS in an interview published on Tuesday. The EU has declared a “hybrid war” on Moscow by unquestioningly following the US, the minister added.
Brussels' policies have only hurt the interests and well-being of EU citizens themselves, Lavrov said. He also accused Washington of barring EU nations from conducting dialogue on energy with Moscow, even though Russia’s supplies of fuel provided Europe with “unprecedented prosperity” for decades.
Following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the EU began gradually reducing Russian energy imports through sanctions, which include a ban on EU imports of seaborne Russian oil, as well as a $60-per-barrel cap on Russian seaborne crude.
In late July, EU member states agreed on a plan to reduce their gas consumption by 15% over the coming months to reduce their dependence on Russian energy. These policies, coupled with the sanctions and the conflict in Ukraine, have led to an energy crunch in the EU, with gas prices climbing to record highs.
Russia will “no longer do ‘business as usual’” with partners such as these, Lavrov warned, adding that Moscow has no intention of “banging its head against a wall,” as it can find countries to work with beyond Europe.
Nevertheless, Moscow is prepared to cooperate with more pragmatic European leaders in the future, the foreign minister said. “If some nationally-oriented politicians emerge [in Europe] who understand all the benefits of equal and mutually beneficial partnership with Russia, I can assure you, there will be no issues on our side,” he said.
“We are realists. We will continue to work with those few Europeans that cherish friendship with Russia. We will not cooperate with Russophobes,” Lavrov added.