Russian Federation is prepared for a split with the European Union if the EU imposes tough, new sanctions amid a dispute over the treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the nation's Foreign Minister has warned.
"We reaffirmed our readiness to talk about human rights and other topics that concern our partners".
"We don't want to isolate ourselves from life in the world, but we have to be prepared for it, " Lavrov said during a broadcast by journalist Vladimir Solovyov.
The relations between Moscow and Helsinki have not been affected by the current situation around Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Sergey Lavrov added.
Asked if Russian Federation is heading toward a split with the European Union, Lavrov replied, "We proceed from the assumption that we are ready for that".
Should Europe reimpose sanctions "that pose a risk to our economy, then yes, " the minister responded to Solovyov's question about whether Moscow was heading for a break with Brussels. "That's beacuse we have to be prepared for the worst", Peskov told journalists in Moscow, commenting on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's statement about Russia's readiness to sever ties with the European Union, an UNIAN correspondent in Russia reported. "We must ensure our security in the most sensitive strategic areas and be prepared to replace everything we could be deprived of with national infrastructure in case madness prevails and such unfriendly actions take place".
"A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry called Lavrov's statement disconcerting".
Russia-EU relations have sunk to new lows over Mr Navalny's arrest and imprisonment. Russian authorities have denied the allegations.
Navalny is accused of describing people who appeared in a video promoting constitutional reforms backed by the Kremlin as "the shame of the country" and "traitors" last June.
The hearings will resume on Tuesday.
On 5 February, Russia deported three diplomats from Sweden, Poland and Germany for allegedly participating in unauthorized rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg on 23 January. European Union foreign ministers are set to meet on February 22 to discuss the sanctions even as EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said he will recommend sanctions during the meeting.
Based on the number of social media posts, it can be assumed that tens of thousands of Russians took part in Sunday's event, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, told the independent Dozhd news broadcaster.
Experts said the Kremlin is failing to contain the protests.
Lavrov accused the West of pursuing the "aggressive containment of Russia" to punish the country for its independent foreign policy.
Lavrov said that economic relations with the European Union have been hurt by sanctions and political contacts have been limited to sporadic exchanges of views on worldwide crises.