Brussels currently sees no reason or necessity to expand the “Crimean sanctions” against Moscow, European Union Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas said.
“I currently don’t see the necessity or any reasons,” Usackas told RIA Novosti in an interview in regard to the possible extension of sanctions against Moscow that were originally imposed after Crimea was reunified with Russia.
Vygaudas Usackas also stated that the EU calls on Russia and Ukraine to hold constructive negotiations over the repayment of Kiev’s $3-billion loan and to solve the situation as soon as possible.
Crimea seceded from Ukraine to rejoin Russia in March 2014 following a referendum in which 96 percent of residents voted in favor of reunification with Russia.
The West has refused to recognize the results of the referendum and imposed an economic embargo against Crimea in 2014, which included a ban on investment in its economy and restrictive measures targeting Crimean individuals and companies.
Following the reunification and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, the European Union, the United States and their allies also imposed several rounds of separate sanctions against Russia, targeting the country’s banking, defense and energy sectors as well as several individuals for Moscow’s alleged meddling in the Ukrainian crisis.
Russia called the measures counterproductive and imposed a food import embargo against the countries that sanctioned it.
“This is an issue of bilateral relations. As you correctly noted, the EU is in contact with both the Russian and Ukrainian partners. We call on both sides to hold constructive negotiations in the spirit of cooperation and solve this bilateral issue as soon as possible, after reaching an agreement in the near future that would comply with the conditions of the [International Monetary Fund’s] program for Ukraine,” Usackas said.
“No one is interested in Ukraine defaulting. Just the opposite, it’s in our interests that Ukraine’s economy is stable, transparent and competitive. We favor the continuation of constructive talks in order to find a way out of the situation,” Usackas added.