HELSINKI, January 6. /TASS/. European sanctions against Russia are not aimed at doing harm to it, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said on Monday, January 5. He commented on a statement made by French President Francois Hollande saying the economic crisis in Russia could not benefit the European Union and new sanctions against Moscow should be stopped.
Tuomioja said the French president’s statement corresponds to the EU line. If progress is achieved in Ukraine, sanctions can be lifted, he said.
“Sanctions were not imposed only for imposing them or doing long-term harm to Russia, but for facilitating the political settlement of the conflict (in Ukraine),” he said.
The West started imposing sanctions on Russia since March 2014 over the events in Ukraine. First, an early EU summit stalled the talks on a visa-free regime and a new base agreement on Russia-EU cooperation. Further on, the sanctions were grouped into three categories — personal, corporate and sectoral.
By the beginning of September 2014, some 420 Russian individuals and 143 companies had been put on the sanction lists of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.
The sectoral sanctions imposed for a term of one year include an embargo on the supply of arms to Russia and the importation of Russian weapons and related materials, a ban on the delivery of dual-purpose products and technologies to Russia, as well as innovative technologies for Russia’s oil extracting industry.
In mid-September, the European Union published new sanctions against Russia in its official journal.