“This will be the direct consequence of the March European Council conclusion, according to which the duration of the restrictive measures against the Russian Federation should be clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements,” he wrote in a letter addressing the leaders of the EU countries, as quoted by Reuters.
Russian Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukaev said Moscow was not surprised by the move, adding that it would not affect Russia’s economy.
“That was an expected decision; we have not heard anything new. This will by no means affect Russia’s economy,” Ulyukaev said as quoted by TASS.
Italy had initially delayed the decision, demanding the issue of sanctions be talked over rather than just rubber-stamped, as it “deserved a political discussion.”
“We realize that all these sanctions are harmful to both Italy and Europe. They are disaster and total madness. We want to eliminate them as much as Russia does because it is stupid to go back to the Cold War in 2015,” Matteo Salvini, a member of the European Parliament from the Italian Northern League (Lega Nord) party, told RT.
“I submitted a resolution to the French parliament for [several] reasons. Firstly, because sanctions are not politically effective. Secondly, they are harmful economically both for Europe and Russia. We are acting against our own interests,” Mariani told RT.
The sanctions were imposed on Russia by the EU in August of 2014 over the country’s alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, as well as its reunification with Crimea.