Russia's Foreign Ministry blames EU for weakness, sanctions against Russia – media
The Russian Foreign Ministry claims that the European Union has again demonstrated its weakness by deciding to extend anti-Russian sanctions contrary to the interests of its member states, according to Russian news agency TASS.
"The European Union has again shown its weakness and inability to recognize the obvious: it is absurd to link the restrictions with Moscow's fulfillment of the Minsk accords," the ministry said in a comment said on Friday, TASS reported.
"Precisely Russia is playing a constructive role in the Normandy format negotiations. No doubt, the anti-Russian restrictions have become a goal in itself for the EU, which wants in the absence of other worthy examples to demonstrate in every way its notorious unity at least in this sphere," the ministry said.
Italy says it blocked EU from widening, lengthening sanctions on RussiaAs the Russian Foreign Ministry said, "the European Union's reaction to the current swift changes in the international situation is characterized by inconsistency and the contradictory nature."
"Literally a couple of days ago, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini spoke about the possibility of interaction with Russia on a number of issues of the international agenda where the positions of Moscow and Brussels, according to her, can differ from the U.S. approaches," the ministry said.
"However, yesterday, following the European Council meeting, [President of the European Council] Donald Tusk stated that the EU expected clarifications for the policy of Washington's new administration on Russia. Thus, the European Council's President actually admitted full dependence on the U.S. on this issue contrary to the interests of the member states that have suffered considerably from the sanctions stand-off with Russia," the ministry said.
"Against this background, there can be hardly any talk about the role of the EU as an independent and responsible player on the international scene," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
At their summit on Thursday, the EU leaders agreed on the extension of the anti-Russian economic sanctions until July 31, 2017. A formal decision on the sanctions extension will be taken by the EU Permanent Representatives Committee in the coming days.