Austria wants to minimize the effects that European Union sanctions against Russia are having on bilateral commerce, Russian media reported Wednesday, citing Austria's Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner.
The sanctions "have caused limits on bilateral relations. But the decisions were not made on our level," Mitterlehner told Russia's economic development minister at a meeting in Moscow, the Interfax news agency reported.
The EU and other Western powers imposed sanctions against Russian state companies and banks as punishment for Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. Russia responded with its own sanctions against those Western powers.
Mitterlehner, who also backed a proposed addition to the Nord Stream gas pipeline from western Russia to Central Europe, said Wednesday that he was happy with the results achieved at inter-governmental talks the previous day.
Nord Stream currently does not run at full capacity because of sanctions against the Russian state gas exporter Gazprom.
Mitterlehner isn't the only EU politician questioning the economics behind the sanctions. The talks between Austria and Russia come just before the premier of Bavaria, the German state bordering Austria, is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Bavarian premier, Horst Seehofer, plans to discuss business interests with Putin, despite criticism from other German politicians, who say the visit could undermine Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the Ukraine-related sanctions "do no good to anyone," Russian state news agency TASS reported.
Medvedev said that during recent talks with "heads of the European Union and particular states and governments," no one has said the sanctions have brought a positive result, according to TASS.