‘Ceasefire an enormous step forward, gives hope for political solution in Ukraine’
RT:The decision on these sanctions can go either way, some experts are even saying that these sanctions could be reversed. How likely is that?
Jeremy Corbyn: I think the ceasefire is obviously an enormous step forward and with that comes the possibility of a political solution in Ukraine and has got to be something to be hoped for. And so I think it would be completely wrong to go ahead with the whole new range of sanctions between the EU and Russia, and I'm not so sure that they are going to go ahead, because I do think there is quite a strong appetite across Europe for saying we want a political solution here. We don’t want ramping up the economic pressure on Russia or indeed the other way, because quite clearly Russia is a very big market for Europe. And therefore, if Europe cannot export to Russia then that does hit the producers in Europe as well.
RT:Some states openly disagree on placing more sanctions against Russia. How strong is this content over the measures among European politicians?
JC: The British government, which I am not a supporter of, is very strong in wanting strong sanctions against Russia. And Britain does not import a great deal of gas, oil from Russia compared to other European countries. I suspect there is quite a lot of self-interest going on here between the different countries. It seems to me that the combination of the ceasefire and the possibility of a settlement and the opportunity of not extending sanctions is something that should be seized, because if it isn't, where do we go from here? We get deeper sanctions between Russia and the EU. We get a greater NATO presence in Ukraine and greater NATO activity in Ukraine. And that in turn will presumably encourage military activity by Russia, across the border in Russia. That is not the Europe that a lot of people want to live in, they want to live in a Europe where people's borders are respected and people's rights are respected and sanctions and military buildup are not a good way forward for either of those to be achieved.
RT:In your opinion, how effective have the sanctions against Russia been so far?
JC: Very hard to say from where I am in London. What I hear from some people in Russia is that the effect of the sanctions have actually been to boost Russian industry and Russian agriculture, because they have got a market space to fill up which has been vacated by Europe in some respect. But quite clearly sanctions go a lot further, for example, airline flying and banking that has a massive effect both on the Russian economy, and of course on the European and global economy.
And I hope that wise heads prevail, we don't go with more sanctions. We go instead with the political settlement in Ukraine in which the voice of everybody can be heard.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.