Should the need arise Belarus and Kazakhstan might join Russia in sanctioning the West, Sergei Lavrov told RIANovosti.
According to the Foreign Minister, the rules and regulations of the Customs Union allow its members to impose trade regulations on third parties only if there has been economic pressure from that country towards any one member of the Customs Union.
“Despite that rule, the Customs Union at the moment is not considering imposing trade regulations to the West in response to Western sanctions on Russia. The possibility that this might happen in the future remains open, though,” Lavrov said.
Talking about Belarus and Kazakhstan and their compliance with the import ban of EU goods to Russia Mr Lavrov stressed that in the conditions of a unified market it is quite difficult to rule out dishonest actions by western economic agents, who could profit by smuggling banned goods into Russia.
“In the meantime, the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan assure us that they will prevent such actions. We have no reasons to doubt this. We are satisfied with their cooperation and are grateful for the provided assistance,” the Russian Foreign Minister added.
He also pointed out that the growth of economic pressure on Russia and its retaliatory measures ‘open new horizons for augmenting trade possibilities within the Customs Union’. Mr Lavrov expressed readiness to help Kazakhstan and Belarus ‘occupy niches in the Russian market that had become vacant as a result of the myopic Western policy’.