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EU sanctions extended to punish Moscow for refusal to review Minsk deal — Russian lawmaker

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier said there was still no reason to lift the sanctions on Russia

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. The European Union once again extended its sanctions against Russia to punish Moscow for its refusal to review the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation, said Konstantin Slutsky, a senior member of the lower chamber of Russian parliament, the State Duma.

Slutsky, who heads the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, made the statement while commenting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Friday statement.

"Merkel does not see sufficient reason to lift anti-Russian sanctions. But it is more likely that there is not enough political will and independence from the United States to admit how absurd they are," Slutsky wrote on Twitter.

"It was Merkel who said that revising Minsk-2 could be possible. Apparently, sanctions are Russia’s punishment for its refusal to crack those agreements," the lawmaker added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference following a European Union summit on Friday that although progress had been achieved in resolving the conflict in Donbass, there was still no reason to lift the sanctions on Russia. In her words, EU countries extended the sanctions against Moscow "unanimously."

In 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions on Moscow over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Visa waiver negotiations and talks on a new cooperation agreement were suspended. Some Russian officials were barred from entering EU counties, their assets were frozen. Besides, trade, financial and military restrictions were also introduced. In response, Russia banned the import of a number of food products from the European Union.