The continuation of restrictive measures related to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is stated in a letter from two high – ranking members of the European leadership-the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. Their message of May 26 is addressed to a group of MEPs. The text was available to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The letter says that the sanctions imposed on Moscow because of its role in the conflict in the territory of Donbas and the annexation of Crimea do not prevent the Russian authorities from countering the epidemic of coronavirus infection. “None of the measures provides for a ban on the export of products or medicines, vaccines or medical equipment,” the text emphasizes.
Earlier, 19 members of the European Parliament in a letter to the EU leadership accused Russia of trying to influence the position of Brussels and achieve a review or lifting of sanctions, taking advantage of the pandemic period.
During a G20 video conference in March, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested suspending economic sanctions on humanitarian grounds, so as not to limit the ability of States to fight coronavirus.
The EU imposed the first set of sanctions against Moscow in 2014 in response to the annexation of Crimea. Russia has also been accused of inciting the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, which Moscow has always denied. Russia calls the occupation of the Peninsula a restoration of historical justice.
In March this year, the European Union extended for another six months the ban on issuing visas and freezing the assets of 175 citizens and 44 legal entities. On June 19, Brussels is expected to agree on an extension of economic sanctions against Russia that affect the energy and banking sectors.
On Wednesday, June 10, the EU ambassadors agreed to extend the ban on European companies investing in the economy of Crimea for another year.