We perceive the EU's further extension of sectoral economic sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017 as a continuation of Brussels’ short-sighted policy. These sanctions are illegal from the point of view of international law. We consider it absurd to link these discriminatory measures against Russia – which is not a party to the Ukrainian domestic conflict – to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, all the more so now that Kiev is obviously unprepared to abide by its commitments. In effect, the European Union has made Russian-EU relations a hostage of the irresponsible game being played by the Ukrainian authorities.
It is worth recalling that the degradation of trade and economic ties with Russia as a result of sanctions has failed to produce tangible political results for the EU. It is myopic, at the very least, to expect us to change our foreign policy because of sanctions. In the meantime, both sides have sustained heavy losses. In 2015, mutual trade decreased by 40 percent as compared to 2014. This trend persists this year. Moreover, the imposed restrictions are negatively affecting the general economic situation in Europe. Yielding to tough overseas pressure, Brussels is primarily punishing its own manufacturers. The European Parliament has registered slower growth rates and job losses in its reports.
At the same time, we are disinclined to overly dramatise the extension of sanctions. They are having a favourable influence on our economy, which is adapting itself to restrictive measures, thereby reducing financial, economic, and technological dependence on EU countries. Considering the diversification of our economic policy, the EU may lose some major segments of the Russian market for good.
We hope that if common sense prevails in Brussels and the EU gives up its logic of confrontation and containment, we will be able to raise our cooperation to a new level.