According to AFP, Russia appears poised to retaliate against a new round of Western sanctions over Ukraine and may block flights through its airspace, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview published on Monday (September 8).
The European Union (EU) is expected on Monday to consider new sanctions against Russia, in a further blow to the country's ailing economy already teetering on the brink of recession.
Brussels said it is ready to review the need for new sanctions if a truce agreed between Kremlin-backed rebels and Kiev forces holds in eastern Ukraine.
"I was hoping that our partners would be smarter…." Medvedev, who served a four-year stint as president before ceding the Kremlin to his mentor Vladimir Putin in 2012, told the business daily Vedomosti.
COMMENT: "If there are sanctions related to energy, further limits for our financial sector we will have to respond asymmetrically," he said, adding that Russia may target flights over Russia," Medvedev emphasized.
US airlines have not been allowed to use Siberian airspace for years and have been pushing the Russian government to review its policy. The Russian government said in August it was considering banning the use of Russian airspace for European airlines, the so-called overflight rights needed to take the shortest route between Europe and Asia.
Medvedev said that a spiral of sanctions could lead to a breach in international security.