MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova - Restoring normal ties with Russia is what many European countries would opt for, as the heating season looms and they find themselves affected by the negative economic impact of sanctions against Moscow, while other states that imposed sanctions against Russia – such as Australia and Japan - are further removed from the conflict and do not face the same pressures, Senior Manager of Europe/CIS Country Risk at IHS Alisa Lockwood said.
“Certainly, there are some European states that might prefer normal relations to be restored with Russia, to prevent any further negative economic impact of the situation; also, with heating season approaching, Central and Eastern Europe will be concerned that continued deterioration of relations with Russia will put gas supplies at risk,” Lockwood told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
“Other countries that have imposed sanctions, such as Australia and Japan, are further removed from the conflict and do not face the same economic and political pressures as European states, so they will likely wait longer before reconsidering,” Lockwood stressed.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Kommersant daily reported that the European Union may start reconsidering economic sanctions against Moscow on September 30.
The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council will undertake a "complex review of the implementation of the Minsk peace plan, and the ceasefire regime in particular". This review is currently in preparation, Kommersant cited the EU foreign policy chief spokeswoman Maya Kocijancic as saying.
The document will reportedly be examined by the EU Permanent Representatives Committee, which will then decide what to do about the sanctions against Russia. In the best-case scenario, EU officials may support a gradual easing of certain sanctions, the newspaper said, citing an anonymous EU source.
“Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic have expressed increasing resistance to sanctions. However, EU member states remain broadly united in seeking to prevent any further escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Consequently, sanctions are very unlikely to be removed all at once,” Alisa Lockwood told RIA Novosti.
She also stressed that signals that the anti-Russian sanctions may be eased have already been witnessed.
“Already when the last phase of sanctions was introduced on 11 September, EC President Van Rompuy stated that there would be a possibility of rolling back some or all of the sanctions at the follow up meeting on 30 September,” Lockwood said, adding that an incremental approach will be taken, with sanctions being lifted step by step as the situation in eastern Ukraine stabilizes.
“Whether we see any concrete moves to lift sanctions on 30 September is still uncertain, but if the enhanced ceasefire conditions are being implemented – for instance, the Ukrainian security service reports that all shelling stopped overnight on 22 September – then there may be a small gesture from the EU to encourage a continuation of the process,” Lockwood concluded.