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    West's Sanctions Aim to Keep Russia at Arms’ Length - Belgian Party

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    President of the Belgian right-wing People’s Party, Mischael Modrikamen claims that anti-Russian sanctions, being in fact useless for the Ukrainian crisis settlement, are aimed at keeping Moscow "at arms’ length" and justifying the NATO military expansion in the Eastern Europe.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Anti-Russian sanctions, being in fact useless for the Ukrainian crisis settlement, are aimed at keeping Moscow "at arms’ length" and justifying the NATO military expansion in the Eastern Europe, president of the Belgian right-wing People’s Party, Mischael Modrikamen, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual "Direct Line" Q&A session that Russia would remove restrictive measures if its Western partners lift their anti-Russia sanctions imposed in 2014 over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and extended for several times.

    "Everybody knows that the continuation of the reciprocal economic sanctions does not help at all to solve the crisis in Ukraine. But for some politicians, mainly NATO hawks, it is a good way to keep Russia at arms’ length, and present Russia as a powerful enemy, that makes it necessary to invest in NATO armament and operations. Imagining that Russia would have any interest in attacking Estonia or Lithuania is perfectly ludicrous, yet it is what is presented as the best reasons to invest in NATO," Modrikamen said.

    Modrikamen stressed that it was the perfect moment for the European Union to resume dialogue with Russia and ease anti-Russian sanctions.

    "It is high time to stop this refusal to talk and to sit at the table with Russia, to come back to normal economic relations. It should be clearly uncoupled from the Ukrainian evolution on the ground," Modrikamen added.

    According to Modrikamen, the Russian countermeasures in response to imposed sanctions were absolutely "inevitable" and the European countries suffered much more economic losses than Russia especially in agriculture sector.

    NATO has been boosting its military buildup in Eastern Europe, citing Russia's alleged meddling in the the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. Following the July 2016 summit, the Alliance announced that it would deploy four multinational battalions to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. Moscow has repeatedly refuted the claims regarding Ukraine and stated that NATO’s military boosting near its borders was provocative and could lead to regional and global destabilization.

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