The Council of the European Union extended the sanctions against Russia until July 31 2016. Reports about it RBC with reference to the press release of the Council of the EU.
The Council’s document stresses that the term of the sanctions was previously linked to the fulfillment of the requirements of the “Minsk Agreements”. Their final result was to be the restoration of peace in the east of Ukraine. “Since the Minsk agreements will not be fully implemented by 31 December 2015, the term of the sanctions is extended, and the Council in the meantime will assess progress in implementing the requirements of the agreements,” RBC quotes the message.
Earlier, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to the EU approved the extension of sanctions against Russia. It was reported that the decision will be the final December 21, unless none of the EU member states filed a written objection.
"Voice of America" reports on the Kremlin’s "counter-sanctions".
On the same day, December 21, the website of the Government of the Russian Federation published a decree that “from January 1 on January 2016, a ban has been imposed on the import into Russia of agricultural products, raw materials and food, the country of origin of which is Ukraine”.
“This decision was made, as is known, due to the fact that Ukraine has stated that from the beginning of next year begins - and speaking directly, continues - the implementation of the economic part of the association agreement with the European Union. Under these conditions, we need to protect our market and our producers, to prevent the importation of goods from other countries under the guise of Ukrainian goods, ”Dmitry Medvedev quotes Voice of America. According to the Prime Minister, “from January 1 2016, import duties will be applied to Ukraine, as stipulated by the single customs tariff of the Eurasian Economic Union.” He reminded the audience that this was "retaliatory economic measures, or counter-sanctions, as they are sometimes called".
A curious opinion about the future “self-destruction” of Russia by counter-sanctions against Ukraine was expressed by Sergey Parkhomenko, director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies “OPAD”, to the Voice of America Russian Service correspondent.
According to him, in the decision of the Russian side there are no economic grounds for the introduction of “counter-sanctions” against Ukraine.
The main goal of these “counter-sanctions”, Sergey Parkhomenko is sure, is to raise Putin’s rating.
“Of course, Russia will not receive any economic benefits from these actions; moreover, by refusing the usual Ukrainian goods, Russia is destroying itself,” he said.
The position of Ukraine is very clear: Russia will kill itself. Perhaps it makes no sense to bring other comments coming from Kiev. And what does the progressive West think about the sanctions and counter-sanctions?
On the website of an influential newspaper Washington Post Michael Birnbaum's report from Brussels appeared. Of the very thick of events. According to the correspondent, the sanctions against Russia were extended amid aggravating disagreements between Moscow and the West.
As the journalist notes, the EU countries reached 21 in December of “unanimous agreement”, despite the disputes over the timing of pressure on Moscow: after all, the Russians continue to remain an important trading partner for Europe.
The reasons for the sanctions pressure — the “annexation of the Crimea” and “the role in the separatist war” (“… Ukraine’s separatist war”) have not changed a bit.
According to the reporter, the European measures, coupled with the sanctions imposed by the United States, were one of the reasons for the strong decline in the Russian economy. However, the future of these restrictive measures remains unclear.
The new decision on the extension of prohibitive measures against the Russian Federation was made at the end of a difficult year for Europe: here both the terrorist attacks in Paris, the “Grexit” and the flows of refugee migrants who put European “values” to the test are almost complete. The journalist doubts that these problems will be solved in the coming year. The question is therefore the unity of the EU in the sanctions direction.
Due to the “sanctions war” in a number of EU countries, irritation is growing. First of all, reminds an American journalist, it is typical for Italy and France. These states have long-standing ties with Moscow in the energy sector. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi does not hide his opinion and believes that sanctions are an example of a policy of double standards. He reported this to Angela Merkel. Renzi is strongly dissatisfied with the fact that Berlin is putting pressure on the EU states, seeking their agreement to extend the sanctions, and in the meantime he is participating in projects with Russians that contradict the very meaning of these measures. (Italy is angry at the new Nord Stream-2 project agreed by Russia and Germany after the abolition of South Stream).
In turn, Frau Merkel, not too embarrassed, made the Italians understand that the new project is a business. “This is a commercial proposal first,” she said after EU meetings about Nord Stream-2. - Italy would like to participate in the South Stream project, and this is quite clear. Bulgaria also raised objections. ”
There is another kind of discontent. Already not economic, but political. Because of the endless streams of refugees, Europe is having a hard time. Therefore, European rulers are trying to make Moscow a "partner" who will be able to put an end to the Syrian war. But here the USA is met: the White House "categorically objects" to the attempts of some EU states to link the achievements of the Russians in Syria with the lifting of the sanctions imposed for Ukraine.
The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, the author recalls, believes that Europe is nothing more than an appendage of the United States, and it does not conduct an “independent foreign policy”.
However, the impact of sanctions on the economy of the Russian Federation is great: Russia is weakening under the influence of several blows - not only sanctions hit it but also falling oil prices. Inflation devastates the pockets of ordinary citizens and causes discontent with the course of the government.
And yet, the correspondent notes, Putin’s popularity is high: according to the Levada Center public opinion poll, 85% of respondents have a positive attitude to the president.
If you know, let's add on our own that Western journalists consider it bad form in the articles on sanctions not to mention Putin’s rating, it becomes clear: the purpose of prohibitive measures is not at all the “implementation” of agreements reached in Minsk. And certainly not the return of "annexed" Crimea to Ukraine. Everything is simpler: Europe and the United States want Putin’s rating to at least equal the falling ratings of Obama or Hollande. And that, you understand, they try, authorize, prolong, and the rating is like Vanka-vstanka.
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
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- especially for topwar.ru