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MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. The West will employ anti-Russian sanctions again and again in attempts to make Russia bear all responsibility for the enforcement of the Minsk accords, which are expected to bring about a long-awaited conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine, polled experts have told TASS.
Contrary to the very logic of Thursday’s successful outcome of the Minsk summit German Chancellor Angela Merkel said later in the day the new document on Donbas was changing nothing in the Western policy of sanctions. The "black list" of individuals and legal entities will be expanded on February 16, just as it had been originally announced. Merkel said Brussels did not rule out the adoption of new sanctions against Russia, if problems with the implementation of the Minsk accords emerged "through Moscow’s fault." US Secretary of State John Kerry, too, pegged the lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions to the implementation of the Minsk Accords, although Russia is not a party to the Ukrainian conflict.
"The response from the European Union and the United States to the Minsk accords is quite predictable. The government coup in Ukraine — Washington-engineered, according to Barack Obama’s recent confession — and also the civil war in the south-east of the country unleashed with the connivance of the West in reality are tools in the hands of the West in its struggle with Russia," the director of the Globalization Problems Institute, Mikhail Delyagin, has told TASS.
"The EU leaders are scared to see the beginning of a large-scale war in the center of Europe. This is the reason why Merkel has been persuading Obama not to supply lethal weapons to the Ukrainian army. But the West’s basic interest remains the same — to stage a rerun of the Ukrainian change-of-power scenario in Ukraine and to weaken the country. In that context the Minsk accords are just an episode, while the groundwork of the West’s strategic goal is to ruin Russia. This is precisely why the sanctions pressure is continuing," Delyagin said.
"In reality, the West liked the wording of the Minsk accords so much because it reflects the main aims of Kiev, the European Union and the United States: the territorial integrity of Ukraine being number one on the list. As US political scientist Dimitri Simes has remarked, the Minsk Accords are too good to be true. The West fears that the agreements may be upset, so it keeps handy the lever of sanctions to exert pressure on Russia any moment it feels fit," the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, has told TASS.
"The Western strategy and tactic — to force Russia do all that is required for settling the Ukrainian crisis on its own and at the same time to avoid easing sanctions — are bound to last. Outside actors will continue to put pressures on Russia in attempts to force it the Donetsk and Luhansk militias comply with the Minsk accords’ requirements for a ceasefire and the pullout of heavy armaments from the line of engagement," Remizov said.
"If the Minsk accords begin to be enforced, no more sanctions will possibly follow. Otherwise it would be sheer madness. As for the lifting of the existing sanctions, it might prove far harder to achieve. Firstly, the implementation of the Minsk accords as such will not be smooth. This is obvious. And any problems with compliance would be used by Russia’s foes inside the European Union in order to show that it is too early to cancel sanctions. So one should not expect the restoration of relations to the level where they were just recently," says the president of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council, Fyodor Lukyanov.
"Whereas in Russia’s relations with Europe some easing is still possible, nothing of the sort looks likely in contacts with Washington. Sanctions against Russia and its countermeasures have left the United States practically unharmed. If Europe decides to take a milder line of its own accord, Washington has enough economic levers to prevent this from happening," he believes.
"Even if the EU cancels sanctions while the United States leaves them as they are, Brussels and Russia will still have a rather limited room for cooperation, because in many spheres the United States sets the tune, and Europe remains dependent on it," Lukyanov said.
TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors