Extension of sanctions shows EU’s weakness: Russia

Moscow, Dec 16 (IANS) Russia said on Friday that the decision of the European Union (EU) to extend sanctions against Russia demonstrates the weakness of the alliance.

“The European Union has once again demonstrated its weakness and inability to admit the obvious fact — linking the restrictions to the implementation of the Minsk agreement by Moscow is absurd,” Xinhua news agency cited a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Minsk Agreement, aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, was reached by leaders of the Normandy format group comprising Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in February 2015. However, the peace treaty has not been fully implemented.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU leaders have agreed to extend the economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its takeover of Crimea and alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis till July 31, 2017.

Russia has retorted with a ban on imports of a range of European commodities, mainly foodstuffs, which will remain in effect until Dec 31, 2017.

The ministry slammed Tusk for saying that the EU was still awaiting a clarification of the new US administration’s policy in relation to Russia.

“In fact, the President of the European Council thus acknowledged complete dependence on the United States on this issue, which is contrary to the interests of its member states,” the ministry added.