ST.PETERSBURG, June 2. /TASS/. Russia is keeping a calm eye on EU talks to prolong sanctions against Moscow, Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
Moscow is waiting until the EU can muster up the necessary political willpower to break the deadlock, which had been initiated by Brussels itself, the diplomat said. One of three packages of anti-Russian sanctions expires on July 31. "This concerns the most serious sanctions, the sectoral economic sanctions," Chizhov pointed out, noting that they are extended once in six months.
The envoy confirmed that there are serious differences within the EU on whether to press for extending the anti-Russian sanctions. "All these discussions end with the chairperson saying: given the contending views that we have, let’s keep this all as it is. And the search for a consensus is over."
"A decision is taken to leave the sanctions in place for another six months, and then to return to this discussion," Chizhov said. "And shortly after the next day they tell us: You know this was an uphill battle, but we managed to prevent toughening the sanctions," he said, citing EU diplomats.
In 2014, the European Union slapped sanctions on Moscow over the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia and has repeatedly extended them. Talks on a visa-free regime and a new framework cooperation agreement were suspended, an entry ban to EU states was imposed on Russian officials and their assets were frozen. Restrictive trade, financial and military measures were put in place. A total of 151 individuals and 37 legal entities were added to the sanctions lists. Sectoral sanctions against 20 Russian financial, oil and defense companies are currently in effect.