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Pre-Trump Sanctions on Russia is being Thought about by the EU

Pre-Trump Sanctions on Russia is being Thought about by the EU
 European Union insiders reportedly say that it would be wrong to assume that the end of the penalties tied to Russian encroachment in Ukraine would be spelled due to Europe’s shaky resolve over extending economic sanctions against Russia, combined with a U.S. president-elect weighing warmer ties with the Kremlin.
Donald Trump makes inroads with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and puts in place a new American foreign-policy team, the future of the bloc’s sanctions against Russia will hang over an EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on Nov. 24.
According to five European officials who are familiar with the confidential deliberations and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the media, said that since the main condition set for lifting them -- full respect of a pact aimed at ending the Ukrainian war -- has yet to be met, EU governments are likely to prolong the measures for another six months with the penalties due to expire on Jan. 31.
Curbs on technologies for the energy and arms industries in Russia and a ban on share or bond sales by state-owned Russian businesses such as Sberbank PJSC are included in a package of penalties that the EU has imposed since Putin annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March 2014 and lent support to rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The 28-nation bloc mustered the unanimity needed to expand them two months later and renew them three times for six months each  and to introduce the penalties in July 2014 for a year, steered by a German-French alliance and emboldened by similar U.S. measures under Barack Obama.
Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Hungary and a few others in a group of sanctions-skeptical EU nations have refrained from exercising their veto power and has bowed to pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Obama for western unity vis-a-vis Putin during this two-and-a-half year period.
Sources said that the lukewarm EU governments were helped to be kept on board as they were galvanized by financing of foreign political parties and military threats and a growing awareness in European capitals of Russian disinformation. Another factor was the deeper Russian involvement in the Syrian war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.
More than two years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Donald Trump has said Putin is “not going into Ukraine” in a television interview in late July and as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, Ukraine was the focus of some of Trump’s most controversial comments about foreign policy. Were he to become American president, “we’ll have a better relationship with Russia” Trump has said and had added later that he would “take a look” at recognizing the Russian territorial takeover and that.
While stressing the value of keeping communication channels with Moscow open, European capitals haven’t been shy about pressing Trump to uphold the current U.S. and European stance even as EU governments wait for Trump to clarify his intentions.
“International law mustn’t be broken,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said and has added that it’s understandable for the American president to seek a dialogue with Russia. saying “the European Union has a very principled position on the illegal annexation of Crimea and the situation in Ukraine. This is not going to change regardless of possible shifts in others’ policies”, European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini echoed the point.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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