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NICOSIA, February 25. /TASS/. Sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia over events in Ukraine have failed to produce expected results, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.
It has become clear and apparent that "they have failed to achieve the purpose of those who initiated them," he said.
Anastasiades, currently on an official visit to Russia, is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.
"Cyprus is part of a group of EU countries who have always considered Russia to be a vital strategic partner," Anastasiades said, adding that he was openly raising the question of expediency of the anti-Russian sanctions at the European Union. In his view, they have aggravated the economic situation in many European countries without opening any perspective for the Ukrainian people.
The island’s economy is closely linked to Russia in many spheres, the Cypriot leader said. "We have received privileges on a Russia-issued credit. Thousands of Russian companies operating in Cyprus make investments in our country. About 30,000 Russians reside on the island. Tourism is also on the rise largely thanks to your compatriots," he said, noting that the sanctions were bad not only for Cyprus. They are also affecting Austria, Spain and the whole of Europe.
"Cyprus is a small country, and we do not have an opportunity to influence the positions of big states. But anyway we would like to minimise the negative consequences of these sanctions," he said.
Anastasiades expressed the hope that efforts that were being made to implement the agreements reached in Minsk would make it possible to end the crisis in Ukraine and return the relations between Russia and the European Union to their pre-crisis level.
The initiatives of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on the Ukrainian settlement would help embarking on a diplomatic course, the only reasonable way to settle the conflict, which would allow everybody to get out of that crisis as victors, he said.