The latest round of Western sanctions against Russia is up for extension among EU members before the July 31 expiration deadline. The European Council, which comprises the leader of all 28 EU member states, is set to meet on June 28 and is expected to debate the issue.
“I think that this issue will be on the agenda. I cannot foresee the final decision, but I assume that the sanctions will be extended after some serious debate. And, of course, sanctions are not forever,” Xydakis told the Kommersant newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.
The alternative minister’s comment comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Greece, where he met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Putin stated that Russian counter-sanctions have harmed Greek agricultural exports to Russia.
“One of the options being considered in this regard is the creation of joint Russian Greek agricultural enterprises <…> And this option is viable not only for Greece, but for other Mediterranean countries that have suffered from the same problem,” Xydakis said.
EU politicians are currently discussing whether the anti-Russian sanctions should be extended automatically, as before, or whether the whole situation should be analyzed, Xydakis added, emphasizing that there is growing opposition to the sanctions inside the bloc.
The European Union, as well as the United States and some of their allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy, as well as a number of individuals and entities, over Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014 and accusations of Moscow’s alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict.