According to the top diplomat, these are “very conservative estimates” of the damage that the West has inflicted on its own businesses over the past year-and-a-half by introducing unilateral sanctions.
Russia-EU trade turnover totaled $200 billion in 2022 and is expected to drop to less than $100 billion by the end of 2023, according to the Foreign Ministry.
The latest ministry estimates show that mutual trade between Russia and EU member states, which totaled $417 billion in 2013, could have reached $700 billion this year were it not for the sanctions.
Speaking at a Ukraine-related meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions in Moscow on Wednesday, Lavrov said that, while the EU shows no sign of reversing its policies, Russia is creating independent trade mechanisms.
“We understand perfectly well that the sanctions imposed against us will not go away in the foreseeable future, and even in the longer term. We don’t need this, not because we choose isolationism or self-sufficiency. The West decided to destroy the world economy for the sake of teaching Russia a lesson,” he added.
Lavrov stressed that Russia will rely “exclusively” on itself in strategic areas. According to Lavrov, the country is now building up new transport corridors and supply chains that will be “beyond the control of malicious influence” from the West.
Many economists worldwide have repeatedly emphasized that Western sanctions have failed to achieve the declared goal of destabilizing Russia and its economy. While the Russian economy initially suffered a downturn as a result of restrictions last year, it has now largely recovered after redirecting trade to the East, according to the Finance Ministry.
Thus far, the EU has introduced 11 sanctions packages against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. The number of restrictions has reached tens of thousands, although officials in the EU and US have repeatedly admitted that the negative impact of the penalties on Russia has not been as significant as expected.