Russia to remain under EU sanctions until July 31st

Russia to remain under EU sanctions until July 31st

EU officials have finally confirmed that sanctions against Russia will be extended until July 31st 2016. The message was spread by the EU Council.

The decision was approved today during a written procedure after a consultation at the council of permanent representatives of EU member states that took place last Friday. Earlier, a source close to the authorities of the EU reported that the sanctions package has not been changed, except for the extended terms. The decision is to come into force tomorrow on December 22nd.

"On December 21st 2015 the Council extended the EU economic sanctions against Russia till July 31st, 2016," RIA Novosti cites the statement of the EU Council.

The document contains information that the decision was made, as the Minsk agreement to resolve the crisis in Ukraine won't  be fully implemented until December 31st this year. "The Council continues to assess progress in the implementation of the agreements," the agency reports.

Senior Fellow at the Center for European Studies (University) of the Russian Federation Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Olenchenko, noted that chances of a termination of the anti-Russian European sanctions continue to exist.

"Certainly, the current adoption of sanctions showed that the struggle is increasing in the EU among the opponents of the EU, supporters, and people indifferent to the sanctions. The Baltic States, Poland and the UK are those countries who support sanctions. They insist not only on the extension of sanctions, but also their tightening. It is noteworthy that the current chairman of the EU is the former Prime Minister of Poland in the times when Warsaw had a Russophile position. He tried to extend the routine nature of sanctions and proposed resolving the issue at the level of the permanent representatives of the EU,'' the first said.

General Director of the Caspian Cooperation Institute, Sergey Mikheyev, looks at the prospect of the lifting of sanctions much more pessimistically.

There is no chance. It's an absolute illusion. The sanctions won't be cancelled, whatever we do. The only way the European Union will lift sanctions is in the case of a total collapse of our policy regarding Ukraine. And it is not a guarantee, because after that they may demand that Crimea be given to Ukraine. We should not hope that these sanctions will be lifted,'' Sergey Mikheyev said.

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