Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would pivot its economic relationships away from the West and towards China, suggesting Moscow could even rebuff an offer to reopen trade with the US and its allies.
Speaking with reporters in Moscow on Monday, the Russian diplomat said that while his country would consider rebuilding ties with Western states, it is inclined to stick with more dependable partners going forward.
“If they [the West] want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, then we will seriously consider whether we will need it or not,” he said, adding that Russia could rely on “only ourselves and on countries which have proved themselves reliable and do not ‘dance to some other piper’s music.’ If Western countries change their minds and propose some form of cooperation, we can then decide.”
If Moscow were to accept such an offer, Lavrov insisted that Russia would never again become reliant on Western goods, saying “We must cease being dependent in any way on supplies of absolutely everything from the West for ensuring the development of critically important sectors for security, the economy or our homeland’s social sphere.”
The foreign minister explained Russia could turn to Beijing for products it would no longer supply from the West. Technology from China is “in no way inferior to the West. A great deal here will ensure mutual benefits,” Lavrov said, also suggesting Chinese investments could create development opportunities in Russia’s Siberia region.
While Lavrov is contemplating the possibility of Western sanctions relief, Washington and several of its allies have shown no interest in normalizing trade ties or deescalating the war. Last month, the British prime minister told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that even if Kiev was ready to make a deal with Russia, the West was not, explicitly urging against any attempts to negotiate an end to the conflict.