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EU ambassador to Russia discussing prospects for revision of sanctions

November 04, 2014, 0:11 UTC+3 VILNIUS

EU Ambassador to Russia claimed that the EU doesn’t see any grounds for lifting sanctions

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VILNIUS, November 3. /TASS/. EU may revise the package of sanctions against Russia in one direction or another depending on the position Moscow takes in the wake of the elections that were held on Sunday in the self-proclaimed republics of Eastern Ukraine, EU Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas said on Monday.

Usackas, a former Foreign Minister of Lithuania is currently in Vilnius.

He claimed that the EU was keeping up a consistent position that was pegged to the situation in eastern Ukraine and to whether or not “Russia joins in its stabilization”. “Depending on this, the EU will take a decision on revising the sanctions in one or another direction.”

“At this stage, we don’t see any grounds for lifting them,” Usackas said.

He mentioned the coverage of the Ukrainian crisis and the Kremlin’s position and what he said about the Lithuanian media could be viewed in a much broader context.

Along with complaining over the ostensible reluctance of the Russian media to provide alternative viewpoints, Usackas apparently saw quite a number of parallels in the way the Lithuanian media were presenting the picture.

More specifically, he said the Lithuanian news media were rather one-sided in their position on Russia, which was felt among other things in a clear overweight of unfavorable information and a shortage of balanced and unbiased opinions.

As regards the coverage of developments in Ukraine, Usackas pointed to a deficit of realistic information on what was happening there. There were no attempts to understand Russia’s line of conduct without apportioning blame to Moscow.

It is incorrect to blame Moscow for just anything related to the conflict in Ukraine and the media should develop a better understanding of the problems and challenges Kiev had come to grips with of its own, Usackas said.

The November 2 elections of the Prime Minister and deputies of the People’s Assembly in self-proclaimed Donetsk brought victory to the incumbent Prime Minister, Alexander Zakharchenko, and the Donetsk Republic popular movement he stands at the head of.

In another self-proclaimed semi-state entity, the Lugansk People’s Republic, elections were won by the current Prime Minister, Igor Plotnitsky, and his Mir Luganshchine /Peace for Luganshchina/ public movement.

The first elections of Prime Ministers and legislators in the DPR and LPR were watched by representatives of the U.S., Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and some other countries. They said upon the end of voting they had not seen any major violations and the elections stood fully in line with European electoral practices.

The government in Kiev speaks about illegitimacy of elections in the two unrecognized republics, with the U.S. and the EU supporting the claim. EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the EU had no plans to recognize the outcome of the elections in East Ukraine.

The U.S., which said the elections contradicted the letter and spirit of the Ukrainian Constitution and the September 5 Minsk accords, condemned the fact they had been organized.

In contrast to the West, Russia believes that Sunday’s voting in the two self-proclaimed republics marked an encouraging step towards reconciliation in Ukraine. On the eve of the voting, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement the elections complied with the Minsk accords and offered a chance to put the situation in southeastern Ukraine to the track of a fruitful dialogue.

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