‘Dead end for EU’: Senior lawmaker blasts fresh round of anti-Russian sanctions
In a statement circulated on Friday by the press service of Leonid Slutsky, head of the Lower House Committee for International Affairs, the lawmaker stated that when the European Union had extended the anti-Russian sanctions it was following the guidelines issued in the “far West” – a thinly-veiled hint at the US – and was putting itself in a situation with no clear way out.
“In three years of the sanctions standoff the European losses have exceeded those of the Russian Federation,” Slutsky said in the address. The lawmaker also quoted President Vladimir Putin’s appraisal of sanctions as a “double-edged weapon,” as well as UN estimates claiming that Russia’s losses from sanctions had amounted to between US$50 billion and $52 billion, while the countries that had imposed the restrictions had lost up to $100 billion.
Slutsky also described as “absurd” the formula used by the current chairman of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who had alleged that Russia was not fully complying with obligations undertaken within the Minsk agreements on the conflict in Ukraine.
“Russia is tired of repeating the fact that it is not a part of the Minsk agreements as well as the internal conflict in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the European Union continues to ignore the real state of events as it prefers to ignore the blatant violations of the Minsk agreements by Kiev. These are the well-known double standards and again they are hurting only themselves,” the lawmaker wrote.
The comment came hours after EU leaders officially confirmed on Thursday a decision to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months. "Agreed. EU will extend economic sanctions against Russia for their lack of implementing the Minsk Agreement," European Council President Tusk wrote on Twitter.
The head of the upper house Committee for International Affairs, Aleksei Pushkov, has blamed the extension on inertia and the lack of clear objectives in European politics. “The new prolongation of the sanctions on the part of the EU means that politics is non-existent and replaced by a status-quo. No one believes in sanctions. It’s simply inertia,” the senator tweeted.
Pushkov also noted that in his view the new sanctions would not provide any real help to Ukraine, saying that the economy is collapsing and the Kiev government is attempting to replenish the budget through begging.
The US, EU and a number of their allies introduced sanctions against Russian officials, companies and businessmen in mid-2014, over Russia’s alleged involvement in the armed conflict in the southeast of Ukraine. Russia replied with a broad ban on food imports from the US, EU countries and other participants of the initial anti-Russian embargo. Russia has also blacklisted a number of Western officials and politicians known for their persistent anti-Russian stance.