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MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not raise the issue of sanctions at his meeting on Tuesday with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said answering a relevant question from journalists on Monday.
"The issue of European sanctions against Russia is not raised by the president during his numerous foreign contacts," Peskov said, adding that "this is not an issue on our agenda."
He underscored that Russia has never been a supporter of the sanctions policy.
"Moscow is firmly convinced that this practice is absurd, ineffective and is a double-edged weapon," Peskov said.
He said Russia never initiated imposition of sanctions and will not initiate their cancelation.
Shortly before his visit to Moscow, Fico voiced his negative attitude toward the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions.
"The sanctions have not produced an expected effect. They have harmed both Europe and Russia. I don’t know who may be happy with that reciprocal damage," Fico said on the eve of his official visit to Russia, due Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.
He said sanctions cannot be the content of politics. "They may only be the tool or one of the tools in the resolution of emerging complex situations," the premier underscored.
"When we discussed the issue at the European Council, I approached that in a reasonable way. I said that if sanctions harm both the European Union and the Russian Federation, what is their sense?" he said.
At the same time, Fico linked the possibility of the soonest cancelation of the anti-Russian sanctions with implementation of the Minsk agreements.
"We do not need sanctions or saber-rattling; we need a peaceful dialogue and specific results. If the Minsk agreements are implemented, I will be the first person to vote for further support of their implementation through easing of sanctions. In my view, it is the rightest approach," the Slovak premier underscored.
Earlier, the Kremlin press service reported that Putin and Fico are expected to "discuss key issues of bilateral interaction and exchange opinions on urgent issues of the international agenda."
Sanctions and Minsk deals
For incorporation of Crimea after last year’s coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as claims that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in Ukraine’s east, which have by now left thousands of people dead.
On September 19, 2014, the Trilateral Contact Group on settlement in east Ukraine comprising representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE adopted a memorandum in Minsk to outline the parameters for the implementation of commitments on a ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the 12-point Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014.
The Contact Group’s meetings in December 2014 and January 2015 were nearly fruitless. The Group held regular talks in Minsk on February 10-12, 2015, signing a 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements.
The Package of Measures (Minsk-2) included cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement in Ukraine, in particular establishment of working subgroups. The ceasefire has been repeatedly violated.