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US, EU to Keep Sanctions on Russia Into 2017 - Former US Ambassador

© Sputnik / Vladimir Sergeev / Go to the photo bankThe latest EU foreign ministers' meeting earlier this month was aimed at getting the Europeans "off the sanctions hook"
The latest EU foreign ministers' meeting earlier this month was aimed at getting the Europeans off the sanctions hook - Sputnik International
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The United States, European Union and some of their allies will keep sanctions on Russia beyond 2016, former US ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — When asked whether he believes the sanctions might be lifted within this year, Herbst stated, "No."

"Because unless the Kremlin decides to fulfil its obligations under Minsk, I don’t believe that Chancellor Merkel will agree to sanctions being eased, and I don’t think President Obama will agree to sanctions being eased," Herbs explained on Thursday.

US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that companies both in the United States and the European Union have born a burden of sanctions, and economies in EU member states have done worse than they could otherwise have.

Italy's Prime minister Matteo Renzi - Sputnik International
Renzi Slammed for 'Selling Himself to US' by Extending Russia Sanctions
Since 2014, the United States and the European Union have introduced several rounds of sanctions targeting Russian individuals and key sectors of the country’s economy. The sanctions were initially imposed in response to Crimea rejoining Russia and Western allegations of Russian involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, and responded to Western sanctions with targeted, economically costly export bans to some European countries.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on extension of the embargo on food imports from the European Union and some other countries until December 31, 2017.

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