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Moscow calls linking EU anti-Russian sanctions with implementation of Minsk accords absurd

June 22, 2015, 16:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The key to solving the intra-Ukrainian crisis was and remains in the hands of Kiev which is in ho haste to implement its commitments, Russian Foreign Ministry says

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© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Khameliyanin

MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Extension of sanctions against Moscow by Russophobian lobby in Brussels will affect millions of jobs in EU, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"On June 22, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union made a decision on extending economic sectoral restrictive measures against Russia until 31 January 2016. We are deeply disappointed that the opinion of the Russophobian lobby took the upper hand again in the EU, as it dragged through the decision on extending illegal restrictions," the Foreign Ministry said in a commentary. "Along with that, Brussels intentionally keeps silent about the fact that as a result of that, hundreds of thousands, and even several millions Europeans, according to some estimates, will lose their jobs," the ministry noted.

EU "by inertia continues to lay responsibility for full implementation of Minsk accords on the Russian side," the foreign ministry added. "The absurdity of such approach is clear to everyone," the diplomatic agency said, adding that "the key to solving the intra-Ukrainian crisis was and remains in the hands of Kiev which is in ho haste to implement its commitments."

Moscow considers it especially cynical that "the decision on extending anti-Russian sanctions was made by EU countries on June 22, the day when Nazi Germany attacked the USSR," the foreign ministry said. "We would want to believe that this is a coincidence, and not an intentional step," the ministry added.

Council at the foreign ministers’ level has extended the economic sanctions against Russia for six months until January 31, 2016, a spokeswoman for the council’s external affairs service said earlier on Monday.

Susanne Kiefer said the decision on extending the restrictive measures has been taken and comes in an effort to implement in full the February 12 Minsk agreements on Ukraine.

The latest decision was made without any discussion being held. Kiefer announced it until the foreign ministers of all 28 member-states arrived for the meeting in Luxembourg.

The EU countries reached a compromise in principle on the issue at the session of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) on June 17.

Sanctions against Russia

The West started imposing sanctions on Russia since March 2014 in the wake of the drastic events evolving in Ukraine at that time. First, an early EU summit stalled the talks on a visa-free regime and a new base agreement on Russia-EU cooperation. Further on, the sanctions were grouped into three categories — personal, corporate and sectoral.

By the beginning of September, some 420 Russian individuals and 143 companies had been put on the sanction lists of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.

The sectoral sanctions imposed for a term of one year include an embargo on the supply of arms to Russia and the importation of Russian weapons and related materials, a ban on the delivery of dual-purpose products and technologies to Russia, as well as innovative technologies for Russia’s oil extracting industry.

In mid-September, the European Union published new sanctions against Russia in its official journal.

Russia fully banned from August 7, 2014 the imports of meat, fish, cheeses, milk, vegetables and fruits from western countries that had imposed economic sanctions against Russian citizens and companies.

The countries that have slapped sanctions against Russia include the European Union member states, Norway, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.

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