"We are forced by the United States to extend sanctions against Russia and that shows that the European Union is very weak and it does not have independent policies. Russia is a part of Europe but there are some transatlantic forces, which are trying to divide traditional Europe, which obviously includes Russia," Johann Gudenus, who is also a deputy mayor of Vienna, told reporters during Moscow conference "Russia and Europe: cooperation instead of confrontation" held at the Rossiya Segodnya international multimedia press center.
The FPO lawmaker underlined that the sanctions were part of Washington's European policy, aiming at stirring up tension in the region, and called on European states to oppose the United States' destructive agenda in order to overcome division and build good-neighboring relations throughout the continent.
Moscow's relations with the West deteriorated rapidly following Crimea’s 2014 referendum on reunifying with Russia and the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. The United States, the European Union and their allies accused Moscow of violating Ukraine's territorial integrity and interfering in the country’s internal affairs. Russia has consistently denied the allegations, pointing out that the policy of sanctions is counterproductive.