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Senate speaker believes removal of anti-Russian sanctions will start next year

The EU first introduced sanctions against Russia in March 2014 after the events in Ukraine

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. The Federation Council’s Speaker Valentina Matvienko is convinced that the removal of the anti-Russian sanctions will begin already next year.

"I am confident that next year they will begin to soften and lift them (sanctions)," she told a press conference summing up the results of 2016.

The EU first introduced sanctions against Russia in March 2014 after the events in Ukraine. Those sanctions include three packages.

First package is the black list of individuals and organizations in Russia and Ukraine, which include representatives of the Russian leadership, businessmen and security officials, as well as almost the whole leadership of self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

All the persons on the list are banned from entering the EU and accessing the EU financial system. The effect of the list was extended in mid-September by six months and is valid until March 31, 2017.

The second package of economic sanctions was extended in June until January 31, 2017. It includes restrictions regarding five leading Russian banks, five oil companies and five companies in the defense sector. Most of those companies challenges the sanctions in court and are now conducting trials against the EU Council in the European Court of Justice.

The third package includes trade and visa restrictions against citizens and organization of Crimea as part of the EU strategy on non-recognition of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia. This package is effective until June 2017.