In early July, the European Union extended its sanctions against Russia by another six months. The measures, which target both individuals and companies, will remain in effect until the end of January 2017.
Despite the EU’s seeming commitment, there is apparent evidence of differences emerging among the European states over Russia, according to Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, which referred to “cracks in the EU façade.”
It cites as an example a recent resolution passed by the parliament of Cyprus, which urges the government to work on the removal of punitive anti-Russian measures.
Additionally, the outlet sat down with Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, to talk on the issue.
The politician told the newspaper that the old European nations are very hypocritical in their attitude towards Russia: publicly they demonstrate their firm commitment to coercing Moscow, while behind the scenes they are “running their business as usual.”
In a separate article on the issue, the same newspaper concludes that the sanctions hadn’t had any devastating consequences in Russia, as has been widely claimed, but instead, together with President Putin’s policy and retaliatory measures, had only strengthened the country.
“The war in Georgia has put a full stop to the expansion of NATO,” it says, referring to the August 2008 conflict.
“The war in Ukraine will lead to its breakdown and re-establishment of Russia’s leading role,” it further suggests.
“Intervention in Syria has rescued Assad and forced the Americans to sit down for negotiations. And the sanctions policy has strengthened the regime, fuelling the flame of conspiracy theory that the West’s only dream is to crack Russia.”
‘What are the gains of the West?’, the Swedish daily asks.
It replies that they amounted to nothing except a sense of “bumbling moral superiority”.