MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Russian Permanent Representative with the European Union (EU) Vladimir Chizhov does not see a threat of expanding anti-Russian economic sanctions by Brussels.
"I don’t see an immediate threat of expanding sanctions, chiefly economic ones. Yes, the stop list may be changed some way, but if we speak about economic sanctions, then there will be, most probably, further search for the possibilities to continue work in these conditions as well," the diplomat said during a Moscow - Brussels video conference.
A major discussion on extension of sanctions was held during the EU summit on December 14-15, Chizhov said. "Whatever they say in order embellishing things, there was nevertheless a major discussion at the summit and there were leaders speaking in support of sanction policy revision. However, the desire for consensus on the basis of keeping things present before eventually prevailed," he noted.
The EU began imposing sanctions against Russia in connection with the events in Ukraine, which started in March 2014. On Thursday, on the sidelines of the EU summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that the leaders of the community are united in their intention to renew the anti-Russian sanctions. A European diplomatic source explained to TASS that this means there are no objections to the automatic extension of restrictive measures, which would be made within the next week.
The EU’s economic sectoral sanctions against Russia are in effect until the end of January 2018. Thus, next week EU permanent representatives will extend them until July 31. These measures include financial restrictions on Russia’s leading defense and energy companies, as well as large banks with state participation. In addition, they imply a ban on imports of military and energy technology and high-tech equipment to Russia.
Sectoral measures are one of three sanctions packages adopted by the European Union against Russia. The other two are the blacklist of Russian individuals and legal entities, in force until March 2018, and a set of targeted sanctions (in force until June) in relation to Crimea, forbidding European businesses from maintain any connections with it. Each of these blocks will be extended independently.