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MOSCOW, 4 March. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama’s decision to prolong the operation of anti-Russian sanctions over Ukraine for one year by no means reflects the situation in Ukraine and their sole effect will be a further worsening of bilateral relations, polled experts told TASS.
Obama on Wednesday extended the operation of sanctions against Russia, imposed on March 6, 16 and 20, 2014 to affect a number of Russian companies and individuals, former members of the ousted president Viktor Yanukovich’s government, and leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. The sanctions of December 19, 2014, taken against the Crimean economy, will stay effective, too. Obama claimed that the situation in Ukraine remained extraordinary and constituted "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."
The president of the International Center for Geopolitical Analysis, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, told TASS: "When he says that he has made a decision to prolong the anti-Russian sanctions on the excuse there is a threat to US foreign policy Obama is right in that the restoration of peace to the east of Ukraine would run counter to Washington’s strategic plans for tearing Ukraine away from Russia. When they were steering the events in Kiev towards a change of power, US Department of State emissaries certainly pursued an aim very different from achieving a situation where the Normandy Quartet leaders would push Washington aside to achieve the implementation of the peace accords concluded in Minsk on February 12."
"Obama’s decision to prolong anti-Russian sanctions fully reflects the United States’ wish to keep the war in Ukraine going, because this was is against Russia. Washington has no intention of letting the European Union leaders settle the situation in the east of Ukraine. Otherwise Obama’s already unimpressive rating would sink to new lows," Ivashov believes.
"In reality the process of ceasefire and pullback of heavy armaments in the east of Ukraine is continuing. Unlike the Ukrainian armed forces, the Donetsk and Luhansk militias have followed the Minsk accords to the letter, for which Moscow can take some credit. It should be obvious to the US and EU leaders that the self-proclaimed republics are by no means interested in an escalation of violence: the economy is in ruins, there are no jobs, and no funds are available to pay wages and salaries. But the West has avoided causing proper pressures on Kiev to make it comply with the Minsk accords, while the United States puts the blame for this on Russia and extends sanctions, which is utterly dissonant with the real state of affairs," Ivashov said.
A deputy director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies, Viktor Kremenyuk, remarks that unlike the leaders of Germany and France the US president by prolonging the sanctions against Russia for twelve months was in no mood to take a milder line towards Moscow.
"Regrettably, the Obama-Putin mechanism does not work. If it were effective, then US congressmen and Russian legislators might have been exchanging caustic statements and propagandists on either side finding faults with each other, while the heads of state would retain the right to exchange messages. It has happened otherwise because Obama is confronted with a Republicans-controlled Congress. If Obama agrees to contact Putin, the Republicans will turn him to dust," Kremenyuk said.
"The Republicans in Congress, who on Tuesday heard an address by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Obama refused to have a meeting with him, focused attention on the risks posed by the regime in Iran. Obama, possibly out of the sense of contradiction, came out with an alternative idea — he put the spotlight on Russia. This will merely worsen bilateral relations," Kremenyuk said.
"It is deplorable that the US president on Monday turned a deaf ear to the message about the possibility of easing the food embargo. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said that Russia might resume the import of farm produce from Europe and the United States on the condition Western companies began to invest into the construction of processing facilities. Regrettably, that constructive message entailed a prolongation of sanctions against Russia," Kremenyuk said.
"I believe that the US president may reconsider his stance regarding the anti-Russian sanctions, if German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, as well as the heads of the OSCE mission in Ukraine provide certain guarantees the hostilities in the east of the country will not resume. None of them has been able to assume such responsibility so far," Kremenyuk concluded.
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