Brexit 'has made Europe weaker,' Russian deputy Prime Minister says

Brexit 'creates uncertainties', says Arkady Dvorkovich

Will Worley
Saturday 03 September 2016 15:37 BST
Arkady Dvorkovich said Russia needed stability
Arkady Dvorkovich said Russia needed stability

The UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union has “made Europe a little bit weaker”, the deputy Prime Minister of Russia has said.

Arkady Dvorkovich said Russia needed strong trading partners and stability in order to progress economically.

The country has been hit hard by EU and US sanctions, imposed in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Mr Dvorkovich, who is in charge of economic policy, said: "For Russia, it's important that Europe is strong. We need strong partners to go forward, and the British decision to leave Europe made Europe a little bit weaker at this point."

He added: "The whole [Brexit] process ... creates uncertainties."

Mr Dvorkovich also denied accusations – expounded by the Remain campaign during the EU referendum – that Russia desired a vote for Brexit because it wanted a weaker Europe it could more easily exploit. The deputy Prime Minister told the programme that assertion was “just not true”.

He also described the sanctions levied on Russia because of Ukraine as “counterproductive” and that they brought “losses to all parties”.

The EU and US have not lifted economic punishments against Russia, introduced in 2014 in response to the conflict and Europe’s fringes. The EU sanctions will remain in place for at least another six months, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The topic of sanctions is significant as it is believed they are causing great economic harm to Russia, though Mr Dvorkovich denied they are having too much of an effect.

Earlier this week, a fresh series of sanctions were announced by the US, targeting individual Russians and Ukrainian separatists as well as companies.

A statement by the US Department of Treasury said: The action demonstrates the Treasury’s steadfast commitment to maintain sanctions until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements, including a comprehensive cease fire, the withdrawal of all weapons and military personnel, and the restoration of Ukraine’s control over its side of the internationally recognised border.

“It also underscores the US government’s opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and our firm refusal to recognise its attempted annexation of the peninsula.”

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