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Most Greek residents speak against anti-Russian sanctions — survey

August 26, 2015, 9:36 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

Nearly half of Greeks (45%) believe that the economic sanctions against Russia have negatively affected Greece's economy

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WASHINGTON, August 26. /TASS/. More than 60% of the population of Greece do not support US and EU sanctions against Russia, international sociological company Gallup reported Tuesday.

"The United States' and European Union's economic sanctions against Russia are finding little support in Greece, where the country remains popular, and the loss of trade has hurt the already fragile economy," Gallup said in a statement on its website.

"The majority of Greeks (62%) surveyed shortly before the EU extended sanctions in late June say they did not back the United States' and EU's punitive measures against one of Greece's major trade partners," the statement said.

"Russia's retaliatory ban on EU food imports - which it took the additional step of publicly destroying earlier this month - has dealt a significant blow to the Greek economy. Before the sanctions, Greek agricultural exports to Russia made up 41% of all Greek exports to Russia, worth approximately €200 million annually," it said.

"Nearly half of Greeks (45%) believe that the economic sanctions against Russia have negatively affected Greece's economy, while only 5% say they have had a positive effect, and 25% say they have had no effect. But on a personal level, far fewer Greeks (26%) say the sanctions have negatively affected people like them, and a slim majority say they have had either a positive effect (6%) or no effect (45%)," Gallup said.

"Greeks with more education are more likely than those with less education to have an opinion about the sanctions, and they are more likely to oppose them and see them as bad for their national and for their personal economic situations," the statement said.

"Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted May 14-June 16, 2015, in Greece. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting," it said.

Earlier, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs told TASS that it is impossible to exclude Greece from Russia’s food embargo.

"I think it is impossible, otherwise much will flow via Greece then. Switzerland, for example, increased apple exports to Russia by 2,500%, and it is a very civilized country - a paragon of honesty. I think the same could happen in Greece," he said.

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.

As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

In late July 2015, Russia extended its food embargo until August 2016 inclusive.

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.

A system of import substitution had to be introduced in Russia in connection with imposition of Western sanctions on Russia for developments in Ukraine and Moscow’s countersanctions.

In his address to the Federal Assembly, Russia's parliament, on December 4, 2014, Vladimir Putin said that the import substitution policy is among the country’s long-term priorities.

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