MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. The West may reconsider its sanctions against Russia no earlier than in December 2016, chairman of Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov told Life portal on Friday.
"There are some chances that sanctions will be reconsidered by the end of this year, in December. It was not a secret for me that sanctions will be extended in the summer," Pushkov said.
Many Europeans understand the pointlessness of restrictions against Russia but US pressure in this matter is still strong, the lawmaker noted. "US exerts strong pressure, and the main thing is that (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel has not changed her position on this issue. Opponents - Greece, Austria - have to follow key countries," he added.
The situation may change by the end of 2016, after the presidential election in the United States, Pushkov continued. "EU is growing more irritated by sanctions that inflict damage on the economy. Accumulative damage is piling up. Over the last two years, Europe lost over 60 billion euros. By the end of this year, it will lose dozens more," the lawmaker said.
The West, inspired by the United States, subjected Russian officials and companies to the first batch of sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after a coup in Ukraine in February that year. New, sectoral, penalties against Russia were announced in late July 2014 over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Russia’s alleged involvement in hostilities in Ukraine’s embattled south-east.
Russia responded with imposing on August 6, 2014 a ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea - because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum - and Moscow has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine.