Russian regions continue cooperation with the European Union’s member states and Norway despite Brussels’ policy of sanctions against Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting of the Russian Council of Regional Heads on Tuesday.
"Despite the spiral of sanctions that Brussels has created, border cooperation continues in accordance with programs that involve EU countries and Norway. The total budget of these projects has exceeded 300 mln euros, it is a significant amount of money," he pointed out, TASS reports.
Lavrov also highlighted the ongoing effective interaction with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. According to him, the successful activities of the Russian delegation to the congress, led by Leningrad region’s Governor Alexander Drozdenko, make it possible to maintain "a constructive and non-politicized dialogue with regional and city heads from European countries." "The important thing is that the congress, unlike a number of other Council of Europe bodies, remains a platform with a positive agenda, which avoids excessive politicization," the Russian top diplomat noted.
In 2014, the European Union slapped sanctions on Russia over developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Since then, these sanctions have been repeatedly extended and prolonged. Talks on waiving visas and a new basic agreement on cooperation were put on hold, some Russian officials were prohibited from visiting EU countries, and their assets were frozen. In addition, trading, financial and military restrictions were introduced.