Western sanctions stimulate the interest of the BRICS countries in Russia, Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev told journalists Friday.
"Not only sanctions are not the reason for our partners in the SCO and BRICS to show less interest, on the contrary — they are the foundation for showing interest. It is clear that our countermeasures, food embargo in particular, open niches in trade turnover that our colleagues are happy to use," Ulyukayev said.
As TASS reported earlier, sanctions against Russia were imposed by the European Union on August 1, 2014 and were toughened in September and eased in October, when European subsidiaries of Russian state-owned banks partially escaped sanctions.
Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov earlier told TASS that Russia "does not discuss the issue of lifting the unilateral restrictions". "It is their business. We monitor these decisions, but we are not discussing this topic, although there were some attempts to discuss the conditions of lofting the sanction from the European side," he said.
Chizhov also said that the Russian response actions to protect its market and its producers, including a ban on imports of European agricultural products, are connected to the European restrictions and cannot be canceled before the removal of the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.
Om June 22 the EU Council at the foreign ministers’ level has extended the economic sanctions against Russia for six months until January 31, 2016.
The EU sectoral sanctions include an embargo on the supply of arms to Russia and the imports of Russian weapons and related materials, a ban on the delivery of dual-purpose products and technologies to Russia, as well as innovative technologies for Russia’s oil extracting industry. The restrictive measures do not target Russia’s gas industry.
Russia imposed a package of countermeasures on August 7, 2014 in response to the sanctions introduced by the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union and Norway over Moscow’s stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine. Russia’s countermeasures involved a one-year ban on the import of vegetables and fruit, dairy and meat products from these countries.
According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, in 10 months from August, 2014 to May, 2015, the countries subject to the counter-sanctions reduced export to Russia by roughly $7 bln to $1.6 bln year-on-year.