08:25 GMT24 January 2021
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    Europe stands divided on the need to continue the sanctions policy toward Moscow, with Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Slovakia mainly being in favor of them being lifted.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — EU sanctions against Russia should be lifted, as they harm both sides and may never lead to an easing of the tensions, a member of the European Parliament from Cyprus told Sputnik on Thursday.

    EU leaders convened in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the issue of anti-Russia sanctions. Europe stands divided on the need to continue the sanctions policy toward Moscow, with Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Slovakia mainly being in favor of them being lifted.

    ''Tensions between Russia and Europe have never produced any positive outcomes. It is in my belief that the sanctions should be lifted. The Minsk Agreement is a good starting point for establishing a better future for the people. It is not only Russia that is potentially suffering from the sanctions but also member states of the EU," Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Cypriot Member of the European Parliament for the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group, told Sputnik.

    At the same time, Germany and the United Kingdom are the main advocates of continued restrictions on Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed earlier on Thursday that lifting sanctions would be premature and incorrect, as not all the provisions of the Minsk agreements have been fulfilled.

    "Russia and the EU should leave behind those periods of the past when the lack of sincere communication resulted in wars and devastation. Peace is our main goal and interest and that's what we are fighting for. We must work in favour of the welfare of the citizens of Russia and Europe alike,'' Hadjigeorgiou continued.

    Claiming that Russia is responsible for the Ukrainian crisis, the European Union, alongside the United States and its western partners, has introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia.

    Moscow has firmly denied any involvement in Ukraine's internal conflict, calling for inter-Ukrainian dialogue and deeming the sanctions counterproductive.

    In response to Western sanctions, in August 2014 Moscow introduced a ban on the import of a range of food items from the countries that supported the restrictions.


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