EU countries refused to renew sanctions against Russia

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The EU leaders have agreed on the fact that this week at the EU summit they should not renew economic sanctions against Russia, writes The Wall Street Journal.

“We can witness signs of a political agreement in the EU, which will allow Europe to avoid controversies on the policy towards Russia. For this purpose, according to the participants of the negotiations, it has been decided to delay the decision on the extension of economic sanctions against Moscow,” the newspaper notes.

According to it, “the EU countries have agreed that the easing of sanctions will be possible only with the full and final implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed in Minsk last month.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that in the last days the negotiations on this issue in Brussels, Paris and Berlin have resulted in reaching a consensus for the summit of the EU leaders, which will be held this week, according to which at the next such summit in June or July they’ll extend sanctions against Russia at least until the end of 2015.

“It is expected that the statement will cover the sanctions issue, and its tightening will depend on whether the Russian Federation keeps the Minsk agreements. In particular, it covers a very important step - the transfer of the border control to Ukraine at the end of 2015,” the newspaper informs.

Anti-Russian sanctions opponents

Bloomberg has found seven EU countries that oppose the expansion of sanctions against Russia. The Wall Street Journal offered to take a look at the list of guests visiting the Kremlin. Thus, in February, President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis visited Moscow. The negotiations resulted in signing several documents relating to military cooperation between Russia and Cyprus. In March, Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi visited Moscow; Bloomberg calls the Italian PM Putin’s “privileged partner”. In April, Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras will arrive in Moscow.

Among other opponents of the anti-Russian sanctions expansion are Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Spain. “Most likely, they will not agree to extend the sanctions now, and will make a decision right before the sanctions deadline expires,” suggested a former British diplomat Ian Bond.

On March 13, the EU Council extended for six months the sanctions against 150 people and 37 organizations in connection with their actions aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The first sanctions against Russia were imposed a year ago. In response to the EU sanctions Moscow imposed food embargo.

Text and pictures by INTERFAX.RU