Polish FM says lifting sanctions against Russia is ‘not on the table’
PR dla Zagranicy
In light of continuing conflict in Ukraine, lifting sanctions against Russia was “not on the table” when EU diplomats met in Brussels on Monday, Poland’s foreign minister has said.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelson and Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: EPA/Olivier Hoslet.
Sanctions imposed because of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and fighting in eastern Ukraine cannot be lifted since ceasefire deals, known as the Minsk agreements, have not been respected, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said.
The sanctions include limiting Russian access to European capital markets.
The Foreign Affairs Council, which is made up of the EU’s 28 foreign ministers, expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
Ukraine was a major talking point at the meeting, following an assault launched by pro-Russian separatists on the town of Avdiivka over a week ago, in addition to continuing violence in other parts of the Donbass region.
According to Waszczykowski, the council pondered whether the resurgence of violence was intended to test the American administration under President Donald Trump, who promised ahead of his election to strengthen ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It is not out of the question that the vacuum – which has been created by a lack of active US policy – can be exploited,” Waszczykowski said.
“Some expected that it could be exploited in the Middle East, in Syria. It turned out that Russia tested the situation in Ukraine,” he added.
Last December, the EU’s 28 member states unanimously agreed to extend sanctions against Russia until the end of July. (vb/pk)