Russia sees economic ties with Asia-Pacific as priority: PM

MOSCOW, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Russia should push for a breakthrough in economic relations with the Asia-Pacific region amid worsening ties with the West, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

"I want to stress that cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region is a key priority for us right now," Medvedev said at a meeting with Russian trade representatives.

"We literally need a breakthrough in this area, which will enable us to overcome numerous technological and economic constraints on steady growth," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

To attract Asian investors, Medvedev said, Russia must increase its awareness about opportunities and advantages.

The prime minister said Russia's relations with European partners are "significantly complicated" over the Ukraine crisis, warning that Moscow might introduce protective measures in response to the European Union (EU)'s association agreements with Ukraine and Moldova.

"We have to be confident that our economic interests will be duly secured," Medvedev said.

Meanwhile, Russia, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan, is ready to create more free-trade zones with regional alliances, he said, referring to Latin American and African countries.

Last week, EU leaders agreed to impose new sanctions on Russian companies allegedly helping to destabilize Ukraine.