US: Brexit to bring Russia and EU together
Britain leaving the European Union will be a serious test for the EU's unity, and may affect the position of the West in relation to Russia, calling the extension of the anti-Russian sanctions in January 2017 into question, the experts of the US company Stratfor said.
According to the experts, a unified EU position on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions has cracked even before the Brexit vote. At the same time, they pointed out that some Russia-friendly countries, including Italy, Greece, and Hungary, called for a broader discussion of anti-Russian sanctions. "Of course, the pro-Russia sentiment is not enough to break the EU unity. Nonetheless, it reveals growing uncertainty over the future of the sanctions – regardless of whether Moscow complies with the European demands to implement the Minsk accords," Stratfor experts noted.
At the same time, the company believes that Brexit will not affect Russia immediately. It does, however, raise a possibility that the European Union's long-standing consensus on sanctions could break by the time the next vote occurs, probably in January 2017. The United Kingdom was one of the biggest proponents of maintaining strong economic pressure on Russia. Now that its status in the bloc is uncertain, other countries may be more willing to diverge from such position — and Russia is ready to take advantage of any rifts," RIA Novosti cited the article as saying.
As Vestnik Kavkaza previously reported, on July 1, the European Union prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months. "The European Union has formally extended economic sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017," the EU Council announced.
'Measures target the financial, energy and defense sectors, and the area of dual-use goods," the EU reminded. The Council extended the sanctions since the Minsk agreements were not fully implemented by 31 December 2015.
The communiqué says that the sanctions include limits on accessing EU primary and secondary capital markets for Russian majority state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside of the EU. Restrictions were imposed on large Russian energy and defense companies.
In addition, the EU curtails Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration. Also, it established an export ban on dual-use goods for military use or the army in Russia.