MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. The timeframe of the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions, which are due to expire on July 31, may be extended but its scope is unlikely to be expanded, a senior Russian lawmaker said.
"It feels today in the European Union that supporters of extending the term of the sanctions against Russia are stronger than opponents of such move," Alexei Pushkov, the chair of the State Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in an interview with Russia’s Izvestia daily. "At the same time the extension of the sanctions’ range is very unlikely."
The expansion of sanctions, Pushkov said, is probable in case of the sharp deterioration of the situation in Ukraine’s east by the end of June, when the European parliamentarians would be making a decision on the issue.
"By the way, there are forces in Kiev, who want to make use of the moment, in other words to expand military actions, disrupt the ceasefire, blame Russia for everything and push the EU toward the expansion of sanctions," Pushkov said. "But such game is unlikely to yield success for Kiev."
Relations between Russia and the West have been strained by the developments in Ukraine as the United States accused Russia of its direct involvement in the armed conflict in the neighboring ex-Soviet republic and slapped Moscow with sanctions. Moscow repeatedly denied the accusations. The European Union joined Washington’s policy in regard to Russia and imposed own sanctions.
The West started imposing sanctions on Russia since March 2014 in the wake of the drastic events evolving in Ukraine at that time. First, an early EU summit stalled the talks on a visa-free regime and a new base agreement on Russia-EU cooperation. Further on, the sanctions were grouped into three categories - personal, corporate and sectoral.
By the beginning of September, some 420 Russian individuals and 143 companies had been put on the sanction lists of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.
The sectoral sanctions imposed for a term of one year include an embargo on the supply of arms to Russia and the importation of Russian weapons and related materials, a ban on the delivery of dual-purpose products and technologies to Russia, as well as innovative technologies for Russia’s oil extracting industry.
In mid-September, the European Union published new sanctions against Russia in its official journal.
Russia fully banned from August 7, 2014 the imports of meat, fish, cheeses, milk, vegetables and fruits from western countries that had imposed economic sanctions against Russian citizens and companies.
The countries that have slapped sanctions against Russia include the European Union member states, Norway, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.