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Senior diplomat warns sanctions 'counterproductive' in tackling Moscow-EU concerns

"The extension of the sanctions cannot cause feelings other than regret," the Russian deputy foreign minister said

MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. The anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union cannot help Brussels achieve its goals in relations with Moscow, the decision to extend them is regrettable, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov told reporters.

"It has long been clear to everyone that sanctions are counterproductive, that they are not able to tackle any tasks assigned by the European Union in terms of its relations with Russia," he said. "Independent EU experts have repeatedly provided figures showing that the sanctions and our countermeasures affect, above all, the economies of the EU member-countries."

"Of course, the extension of the sanctions cannot cause feelings other than regret. The aggressive majority in the EU is again running the show," the diplomat added.

On Wednesday, the Council of the European Union extended anti-Russian economic sectoral sanctions by six months until January 31, 2018. The EU sanctions policy includes three independent areas, namely, visa restrictions against Russian citizens (to be in effect until this September), economic sanctions against some Russian state-owned oil, defense and financial companies (extended until January 31, 2018) along with restrictive measures against Crimea (until June 23, 2018).