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EU members coming to grips that sanctions are 'absurd' — Russian MP

On November 27, the Financial Times wrote that the Council of Europe is considering lifting anti-Russian sanctions

MOSCOW, November 27. /TASS/. Europe is wising up to the fact that its sanctions policy against Russia is futile, member of Russia’s State Duma (lower house) International Affairs Committee, Sergey Zheleznyak, said on Monday.

On Sunday, the Financial Times wrote that the Council of Europe is considering lifting sanctions it had imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 because it fears that Moscow could pull out of the organization. Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland said Russia’s potential withdrawal "would be a big step backwards for Europe." "Europe increasingly understands that it cannot solve the most serious problems and challenges without Russia, and is aware that the sanctions policy is senseless and futile, and anti-Russian hysteria is pointless," Zheleznyak told TASS.

It is becoming more evident for "astute Europeans" that there is no link between the sanctions against Russia and the Ukrainian crisis. Besides, the anti-Russian sanctions deal a heavy blow to national economies in Europe, and arouses great discontent among citizens of European countries, he said.

"These tendencies were clearly demonstrated at the most recent parliamentary elections in some European countries where the voters supported patriotically-oriented parties," the lawmaker said.

This weekend, Belgrade hosted consultations of representatives of the European Parliament with the Russian delegation of parliamentarians, which confirmed that a realization is growing that there is no alternative to dialogue with Russia.

"We discussed a range of issues on European security, countering terrorism, migration, the influence of technologies on labor and social systems, climate change and environmental challenges. These issues can be effectively resolved only through cooperation by all parties, and together with (our) European colleagues we have already agreed to continue consultations in the coming 2018," Zheleznyak said.

Russia "has always called for dialogue with foreign colleagues and on an equal footing and with mutual respect," he stressed.

In April 2014, the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the Russian delegation’s rights was raised at PACE twice during 2015 but the sanctions are still in place. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE. That said Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2016.