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Russia says it’s business as usual, EU sanctions extension changes nothing

Russia says it’s business as usual, EU sanctions extension changes nothing
The European Union’s economic sanctions against Russia will be extended for another six months, European Council President Donald Tusk has said. The measures targeting Russia’s economy were due to expire next month.

“The EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in implementation of Minsk agreements,” Tusk said on Twitter.

The prolongation of the sanctions changes nothing for Russia, according to Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the financial market committee of the State Duma (lower chamber of Russia’s parliament).

“We need to take care of ourselves, to work. We understand that this is for a long time and nothing will change in half a year or a year, and I do not rule out that in 10 years.

“Nevertheless, the Europeans might soon understand that this is ridiculous and will change their position,” Aksakov said.

READ MORE: ‘Solid relations in time of sanctions’: Germany’s investments into Russia exceed €2 billion

The EU’s economic sanctions against Russia were initially introduced in July 2014 over Moscow’s reunification with Crimea and alleged involvement in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. The restrictions targeted finance, energy and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

Also on rt.com EU lost over €100bn because of its own anti-Russia sanctions – Lavrov

Moscow retaliated by imposing an embargo on agricultural produce, food, and raw materials from countries that joined in the sanctions. Mutual sanctions have been prolonged and extended since then, despite proving ineffective and harmful to both Russia and Europe.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the main bone of contention between the EU and Russia – sanctions – was imposed by the European nations “on direct orders” from Washington. He noted that while the restrictions policy did not harm the US, the EU suffered billions in losses.

READ MORE: Costly affair: Sanctions on Russia have cost Hungary $8 billion, FM says

He added that Russia, which had to retaliate with tit-for-tat measures, was ready to lift the restrictions it imposed on European goods back in 2014. However, Brussels should make the first step, Lavrov stressed, saying “We hope that common sense will eventually prevail since, objectively speaking, the sanctions neither benefit Russia nor the EU.”

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