Italy fails to prevent Germany and France from extending sanctions against Russia
The leaders of the EU countries made a political decision to extend economic sanctions against Russia for six months, a source in the EU Council said on the sidelines of the EU summit.
"We had a very short discussion on Russia, Ukraine and the Minsk Agreements, which led to a political decision to extend the sanctions for another 6 months," the source said.
According to the diplomat, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron briefly informed the leaders of the EU countries about the implementation of the Minsk agreements in Ukraine. The regime of sanctions against Russia is linked with these agreements. "It was said that there are no changes, so sanctions are prolonged, the sanctions regime remains unchanged," TASS cited the source as saying.
The diplomat added that after the adoption of the political decision of the EU summit, the official procedure for the extension of restrictive measures should begin.
On June 27, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte criticized the anti-Russian sanctions. He stressed that the renewal of economic sanctions against Russia should not be automatic. He also noted that sanctions should be a means and not constitute an end. Erlier, Conte agreed with US President President Trump that Russia should return to the G8.
First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, a representative of the legislative body of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Vladimir Dzhabarov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza earlier, noted that despite the growing number of statements by European politicians about the senselessness of anti-Russian sanctions, it is too early to wait for their cancellation.
"It's unlikely that the lifting of sanctions will be so simple, because the US pressure on Europe is still too strong, Germany is trying to keep the situation under control. We should not wait for changes until Europeans reach the general decision, until the whole of Europe or, at least, the majority of countries opposes it. But the fact that the process of doubt and discontent has begun is good, everyone understands that sanctions are absolutely useless and give nothing except worsening the climate in relations between countries," he stressed.
"Separately, Italy or Slovakia can not afford to oppose sanctions against the will of Germany and France. They need more powerful support from several leading countries. Imagine what will happen to Italy if it does not support sanctions - allies in the European Union and NATO will immediately attack it. Therefore, for now it will be at the level of appeals and statements, waiting for the reaction of Americans and Germans to such statements. When there will be the necessary number of opponents of anti-Russian sanctions, then one should expect a breakthrough in the European policy towards Russia," Vladimir Jabbarov said.
The head of the IMEMO of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexei Kuznetsov, in turn, explained that Italy, with due political will, could single-handedly cancel all European sanctions against Russia, but it will not do it.
"There are two things: first, the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia will simply trap European business, as it will have to choose between observing US sanctions in the absence of European sanctions and the Washington sanctions in case of its active work with Russia," the expert pointed out.
"The second point is that the statements about the abolition of sanctions by European governments do not lead to concrete actions. Many governments periodically say that they will lift sanctions against Russia, but as a rule, it's on the second plan in their agenda. Most likely, Italy will continue to extend sanctions against the Russian Federation along with others," Alexei Kuznetsov stressed.
"It's the futility of economic sanctions against Russia as an instrument of pressure on Moscow makes Italy to speak about the need to lift them," the head of the IMEMO of the Russian Academy of Sciences concluded.
The EU's sanctions against Russia include: visa restrictions against Russian citizens, economic sanctions against a number of Russian state-owned companies in oil, defense and financial sectors, as well as restrictive measures against the Crimea. All these measures were taken in 2014. The first two types of restrictions are extended every six months, and the prohibitive measures against the Crimea - once a year.