11:39 GMT05 July 2020
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    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)

    Anti-Russian sanctions are useless and part of efforts by the United States and the European Union to convince their populations of the need for bigger military spending and NATO's eastward expansion, Gianmatteo Ferrari, a member of the Italian Lega Nord party, told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On June 20, the US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) introduced sanctions against some 40 individuals and entities on the pretext of their alleged involvement in the ongoing conflict in Donbass. The new sanctions include freezing of assets subject to US jurisdiction and prohibit US individuals from doing business with them. The Department of the Treasury’s move comes after the US Senate voted in favor of extending sanctions against Russia over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election on June 14.

    This could be compounded by a sanctions bill currently working its way through Congress, while EU leaders are likely to agree on extending the bloc's anti-Russia sanctions during Thursday's summit, according to reports citing diplomatic sources.

    “Sanctions are useless … This is very well known both to American and EU politicians. The United States and the European Union have an extreme need to have an 'enemy.' Without an enemy they do not justify the scary US military spending and NATO. Without an enemy they not justify the continued expansion of NATO in the East. Without an enemy and without 'fear' people would probably not accept EU austerity measures," Ferrari said.

    Ferrari said that neither the United States nor the European Union are really interested in solving the Ukrainian conflict. He added that the sanctions were only aimed at restraining Russia’s competitive advantage over the United States.

    “The US and the EU do not want to solve the Ukraine crisis. Everyone knows that. If they do, they have no excuse for imposing sanctions on Russia. These sanctions have the dual aspect of justifying the US, EU and NATO military spending, and the other also serving as unfair competition. Sanctions, in fact, go to those areas where Russia exceeds and the US is in trouble,” Ferrari added.

    Since 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union and the United States, deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea's decision to rejoin Russia. Brussels, Washington and their allies introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia on the pretext of its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, which Moscow has repeatedly denied. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia imposed a food embargo on some products originating in countries that have targeted it with sanctions.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the new US sanctions a "Russophobic obsession" going beyond all measure. Lavrov also criticized the European Union for keeping sanctions despite the fact that the Russian side of the Minsk accords on Ukrainian crisis settlement was fulfilled.

    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)


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    sanctions, NATO, European Union, Lega Nord, Gianmatteo Ferrari, Ukraine, Russia, United States
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