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Russian MP calls on Europe to make first step to lift sanctions

June 21, 2016, 19:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A lawmaker says the extension of sanctions means Europe is content with mutually harmful measures

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MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. A senior Russian lawmaker has called on Europe to be the first to take a step to get out of the dead end of sanction for its own sake.

"It looks like this process lives its own life which has little to do with other realities, as many leading European politicians have raised their voices against the sanctions," Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, wrote on his Facebook account on Tuesday, commenting on the EU Permanent Representatives Committee’s decision to extend the anti-Russian sanctions for six months more.

"Harm from these sanctions is obvious, their efficiency is impossible to prove, their link to the Minsk agreements means a direct sanction to Kiev not to implement them," he wrote. "The sanctions have turned from an instrument into a goal in itself."

"The fact that these sanctions are turning into a norm indicates that mistrust, the language of ultimatums and pressure have become an everyday practice, instead of cooperation," Kosachev noted. "And those who have imposed the sanctions must make the first step from this dead end. Not for Russia’s sake. But for Europe’s sake."

Way out of dead end

The European Union’s problem, in his words, is not that the mere fact that the sanctions are made dependent on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. "Even if the European abandon them, the United States has all the possibilities to punish European banks and concerns for giving out money and technologies to Russia. It means that little depends on the European, strictly speaking," he wrote. "Russia has learnt to live under the sanctions and derive advantages from them whereas the implementation of the Minsk agreements depends on Kiev."

"So, the extension of sanctions means either that Europe is content with these mutually harmful measures (which choice is largely questioned) or that it has no tools to influence Kiev," he underscored.

The EU Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) has agreed to extend the economic sanctions against Russia for six months, till January 31, 2017, a European diplomatic source said earlier on Tuesday. The decision still has to be approved by the EU Council, the source added.

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