So far, he further notes, “these hopes have been dashed by the tough stance of the US administration, which views sanctions as a deterrent against further Russian aggression, and by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was outraged by Putin's treatment of Ukraine.”
Now, both these obstacles have lessened somewhat, he states.
The author further explains that Washington has been “disappointed by Ukraine's intransigence.”
The “intransigence” refers to Ukraine’s reluctance to implement its part of the Minsk deal out of fear that Russia will not “keep its end of the bargain.”
“This intransigence, along with Ukraine's permanent political crisis, inadequate economic reforms and rampant corruption, has caused weakened support in Washington. Additionally, the US establishment is preoccupied with the presidential election,” the author notes.
So, Bershidsky notes, both the Kremlin and influential European figures “are looking for ways to start defusing the stand-off without losing face” and bypass Washington, which is still pushing for the punitive measures.
While the sanctions will almost certainly be extended, he suggests, “no country wants to rebel on this matter while other more serious matters, such as the refugee crisis and Britain's EU referendum, are on the agenda for the bloc.” A weakening of the restrictions appears set to begin in the coming months.
Similar view are echoed by the New Eastern Outlook website, which notes that certain cracks are appearing in EU unity regarding Russian sanctions.
“But there are growing opposition rumbles being heard across Europe, led by some of the newer East European member countries who feel that the EU got suckered by US pressure for sanctions while the US only bears 10% of the lost business. EU exports of agricultural products were off 29% in the past year, equivalent to 4.4 billion Euros and an estimated 130,000 lost jobs.”
According to author Jim W. Dean, those who are voting for the removal of the sanctions include France, Germany and, surprisingly, even Ukraine.
However it still remains to be seen how the vote ends up.