The United Kingdom needs to extend trade with Russia and even sign a free trade agreement, rather than introduce new sanctions and provoke further militarization as suggested by the British Defense Committee, Janice Atkinson, a British independent member of the European Parliament, told Sputnik Tuesday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) —The UK parliament’s Defense Committee on Tuesday called for the renewal of EU’s anti-Russia sanctions as well as introducing individual sanctions against a larger number of Russian officials. The Committee also called for stepping up NATO deterrence against the perceived threat of Russian militarization in its new report.
“I do not think it is necessary at all, I do not view Russia as a threat,” Atkinson said, commenting on the report.
“In our country, we need investment, and if it comes from Russia, that is great, we need all the friends we can get at the moment… I certainly would like the UK to have a free trade agreement with Russia. We should be looking at trading, not militarization,” Atkinson said.
The EU parliamentarian hopes the Conservative party will elect a leader “who recognizes that trade rather than militarization is the way forward, and diplomacy is the way forward.”
On Friday, the Council of the European Union prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of Russia’s economy until January 31, 2017.
In 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions since the reunification of Crimea with Russia, accusing Moscow of meddling in the Ukrainian conflict.
Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia has imposed a food embargo on some products originating in countries that have targeted it with sanctions.