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MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Moscow has told Brussels it may be prepared to cancel its restrictive measures against European goods, if the European Union gives up anti-Russian sanctions. Last Saturday the Foreign Ministry issued a call to the European countries urging them to get out of the dead end of sanctions and promised that Russia’s counter-sanctions would be lifted in return.
In response to that proposal European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the sanctions would stay in effect until Moscow took steps towards “restoring peace” to the region, apparently referring to hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine.
“Europe is experiencing what one may describe as cumulative fatigue over Ukraine. It looks increasingly eager to find an alternative to the Ukrainian agenda. The European Union would like to distance itself from the Ukrainian problem that has been imposed on it,” lecturer at the Moscow state university of international relations MGIMO, Kirill Koktysh, has told TASS.
“It is precisely that feeling of fatigue and the growing awareness that the European Union is in reality losing markets due to mutual Russian-European sanctions that can be heard in statements by European politicians these days. Such statements are made aloud at various conferences. In some industries trade with Russia has slumped by 20%. Naturally, this is a major incentive to look for some formats to mend relations with Moscow,” Koktysh said.
“For this reason Russia’s zero option proposal may have certain chances of falling on attentive ears in Brussels. The restrictive measures imposed last spring after Crimea’s reunification with Russia were introduced for one year and cannot be prolonged automatically. This means that some sort of bargaining is ahead. It may serve as a step towards normalizing relations and contacts between the European Union and Russia.
“Of late, Brussels has been mulling the idea it would be a great mistake for the European Union to ignore the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. The EU says it keeps an open door to establishing relations with the Eurasian Economic Union and the Customs Union. It may be a sort of trickery on the part of Brussels - an attempt to put pressures on Russia through its partners in both economic unions, or evidence of the rational intention to seek mutually beneficial cooperation,” Lukyanov said.
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