Interfax: Sergei Lavrov says Western sanctions on Russia are not lawful

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. March 20 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States do not have international legal grounds, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“Unilateral sanctions have never done any good. They are not legal. And they do not have international legal grounds,” Lavrov said at a State Duma sitting on Thursday.

“The UN Security Council is the only body entitled to decide on coercive measures towards sovereign states but it has not made such decisions in regards to the Russian Federation and the Ukrainian administration of President Yanukovych,” he underscored.

“Even if we speak about the Ukrainian constitution, the people who grabbed power in Kyiv in an anti-constitutional revolt did that with at least moral support and, I believe, that support was not just moral, by their actions,” Lavrov said.

“The trampling upon laws, which aimed to bring their stooges to power, who relied on blatant ultra-nationalists and who were unable to control even Kyiv without them, and accusations of us and Crimeans of breaching Ukrainian laws are totally void from the legal point of view and, I believe, totally unacceptable from the point of view of morals and ethics,” Lavrov said.

He said he was surprised with the Western perception of the Russian position.

“I am surprised not only with the adherence of our Western partners, in which they are increasingly wrapped up, to unilateral imperative measures as regards other countries, but also with the concrete forms which this unjust indignation takes,” Lavrov said.

“I won’t even make comments, everyone is aware which particular measures our Western partners are taking in this situation. And since they declare as the cause or, actually, a pretext for their sanctions the decisions of Crimean accession to Russia, I would like to note that we and Crimea are accused of violations of the Ukrainian constitution and international law,” the foreign minister said.