21:12 GMT26 January 2021
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    Russia does not expect the European Union to expand its sanctions, Russia's Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told Sputnik.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — The United States, the European Union and several other countries introduced several rounds of sanctions against since 2014 in response to Moscow's alleged meddling in the conflict in Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied interference in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    "Firstly, we do not care, and secondly, I think that this will probably not happen, the expansion," Chizhov said Thursday on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine), the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

    anti-Russian sanctions, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2017, European Union, US
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