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Fresh anti-Russia sanctions to cause more damage to EU: Moscow

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attends a weekly news briefing in Moscow, Russia February 11, 2021. (Photo via Reuters)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that the latest European Union sanctions against Russia will cause more harm to the EU than Russia.

Zakharova added that the EU’s “dictatorial” behavior reveals how Brussels is “denying” member states of their right to “protect their interests.”

She also warned the EU of the “heavy price” the Europeans must pay for the accession of Ukraine and Moldova to the bloc.

“It goes as far as absurdity, when through some unscrupulous manipulations - when certain heads of state and government are not present at the table, - some legally questionable and obviously politicized decisions are made, which are as follows: on the start of pre-accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, which not only fail to meet the EU’s elementary criteria but directly run counter to them, as well as on another ‘package’ of unilateral restrictive measures against Russia, which, like all the previous ones, will cause bigger harm to the European Union itself,” the diplomat said.

“This dictatorial behavior of Brussels reveals in all its magnitude that the member states are denied their democratic right to a dissenting opinion and the protection of their own interests.”

She went on to add that the EU’s confrontational “policy and the consequences of its opportunistic decisions regarding Ukraine and Moldova will have to be paid by the population of European countries.”

EU members agreed on a 12th package of sanctions against Russia, the European Council said on Thursday, meaning that a phased ban on Russian diamond imports among other measures will come into effect from January 1, 2024.

Moreover, after the summit, European Council President Charles Michel also announced that the EU members had decided to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, which may start in March 2024 or later.

The accession talks regarding Ukraine and Moldova started after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left the summit in protest to the move. Budapest had earlier threatened to veto the accession of Ukraine into the European Union. “Hungary does not want to be part of this bad decision!” Orban said in a statement on Facebook.

Russia started the “special military operation” in its eastern neighbor in late February 2022 to defend the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev.

Ever since the beginning of the war, Kiev's Western allies, led by the United States, have been pumping Ukraine with advanced weapons and slapping Russia with a slew of sanctions, steps that Moscow says would only prolong the hostilities.

Zakharova also said that the EU is continuing to “swiftly lose both political and economic weight around the world” under the pressure of the United States’ missteps.

“The EU’s resources, so much needed for its domestic growth, are not funneled into resolving multiple problems and asserting its own place in the emerging multipolar world order, but into serving the US interests, including into the enrichment of the US military-industrial complex,” she said.

Zakharova added that it looks quite natural that against this backdrop, “the most responsible politicians in European countries are more and more frequently prioritizing national interests over some mantras of ‘European solidarity,’ which are out of touch with real needs.”

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