RIGA - The European Union (EU) is unlikely to lift or ease its sanctions against Russia anytime soon, Latvian Ambassador to Russia Maris Riekstins told LETA.
The ambassador indicated that the EU is united on the sanctions issue. The annexation of Crimea and Russia’s subsequent support to separatists in eastern Ukraine are violations of international law that cannot go unnoticed by Europe.
“Russia is being urged to return to the negotiations table, which might result in compliance with the Minsk agreements. However, the political calendar is complicated at the moment in that Ukraine is about to hold a presidential election and other developments are taking place that are having an emotional impact on the public opinion in Russia and Ukraine, for instance, the establishment of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” Riekstins said.
Due to the aforementioned reasons, a serious return to the implementation of the Minsk agreements might take place in the late spring of 2019, the ambassador said, stressing that he does not see a reason for the EU and NATO to change their position on fundamental issues concerning Russia.
Commenting the EU’s reaction to Russia’s aggression in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, the Latvian diplomat noted that “someone might find the reaction strong, while others might find it temperate”, but on the whole, the EU’s approach is currently aimed at securing the release of the detained Ukrainian seamen and ships.