INTERVIEW: Moscow’s reaction to Western sanctions to be painful
MOSCOW, Mar 9 (PRIME) – Moscow’s reaction to the Western sanctions will be swift and painful, the work is going on in all directions, Dmitry Birichevsky, head of the Foreign Ministry’s economic cooperation department, told PRIME in an interview on Wednesday.
“Work on retaliatory economic measures is going on constantly and in all directions, but they are mainly non-public at this stage. Still, nobody should have any doubt that Russia’s reaction will be swift, thought-out, and sensitive for the addressees … It is obvious that we will work out the targeted trade and financial restrictions in response,” he said, adding that the E.U. has started an “all-out economic war” against Russia.
The E.U. and U.S. sanctions for the aviation industry, which include a ban on exports of civil aircraft and their spare parts to Russia, is an unprecedented attempt to force external political decisions on Moscow.
“These restrictions are aimed against the large civil industry, they threaten safety of air transportation of passengers on the internal and international routes,” he said.
Moscow is ready to contest the trade restrictions in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“We have enough experience in protection of our interests in the WTO Dispute Settlement body, and we plan to continue the practice of attracting this arbitration body to challenge the illegitimate trade restrictions imposed by the other member countries that violate the multilateral agreements and their own obligations within the organization,” he said.
“At this stage, we are not talking of any serious changes in relations between Russia and the WTO, but their further development will be subject to our national trade and economic interests within the framework of the multilateral trade system.”
Under the pressure of the Western sanctions, Russia is reducing the share of the U.S. dollars in its foreign exchange and gold reserves and in the external trade settlements. The Russian economy has been living under constant sanction risks, but the internal market and the external economic connections of the country should adapt to the changing circumstances.
“This is why the Russian authorities are making significant effort to protect their trade and economic relations and investment projects from the external negative impact,” Birichevsky said.
“The key elements of the Russian economic policy are: a lower use of the U.S. dollars in the national reserves and external settlements; a switch of attention to the capital markets alternative to the Western ones; provision of reliable and secure channels for transfers of financial information; a higher share of mutual payments in national currencies, and creation of direct interbank correspondent relations with the main trade partners.”
At the same time, Moscow has no plans to abandon its position as a reliable supplier of natural gas to Europe. The Russian companies continue to fulfill their contract obligations, they continue the delivery and transit of gas, he said.