Ukraine should fasten implementation of the political and economic reforms it had promised to carry out, because some EU member states are seeking ways to suspend sanctions imposed on Russia, US Vice President Joe Biden said.
“Until you form a new government and you actually bring in someone who will move on this, we’re not playing. Not because we’re trying to play hardball, because we know if they give an excuse to the EU there are at least five countries right now that want to say, whoa, we want out [of anti-Russia sanctions] — at least five right now,” Biden said Wednesday, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) about the necessity to implement reforms by Kiev.
He added that some European countries see no point in maintaining anti-Moscow restrictions.
“You know as well as I do — and I’m going to try to be no focused on any one country — there’s an overwhelming instinct in Europe to say, hey, before you guys became president, this was owned but Russia anyway. They had a puppet there. What difference does it make? What the hell is the difference? Why are you making us engage in these sanctions?” Biden added, saying that without the consensus within the 28-nation bloc “the ability to sustain the sanctions evaporates.”
The United States, the European Union and some of their allies have imposed several rounds of restrictive anti-Moscow sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy, as well as a number of individuals and entities, over Crimea’s reunification with Russia and Moscow’s alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, which started as Kiev launched a military operation in the country’s eastern regions in April 2014.
Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia has imposed a food embargo on some products originating in countries that have targeted it with sanctions.