Moscow "doesn't give a shit" about the risk of Western sanctions if it were to invade Ukraine, Russia's outspoken ambassador to Sweden told a Swedish newspaper.
Viktor Tatarintsev told the Aftonbladet newspaper in an interview posted on its website late Saturday, "Excuse my language, but we don't give a sh*t about all their sanctions"
"We have already had so many sanctions and in that sense, they've had a positive effect on our economy and agriculture," said the veteran diplomat, who speaks fluent Swedish and has been posted to the Scandinavian country four times.
He further stated, "We are more self-sufficient and have been able to increase our exports. We have no Italian or Swiss cheeses, but we've learned to make just as good Russian cheeses using Italian and Swiss recipes".
"New sanctions are nothing positive but not as bad as the West makes it sound", he added.
Tatarntsev accused the West of not understanding the Russian mentality.
"The more the West pushes Russia, the stronger the Russian response will be," he said.
The diplomat's comments came at a time when Western countries feared Moscow was preparing to invade Ukraine after it had nearly surrounded its western neighbor with more than 100,000 troops.
Washington warned that a full-scale invasion could begin "every day". Tatarntsev insisted that Moscow was trying to avoid war.
"That is our political leadership's most sincere wish. The last thing people in Russia want is war."