Kremlin says aim of Russian sanctions is to make Ukraine willing to improve relations

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© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. By imposing retaliatory sanctions on Ukraine, Moscow seeks to make Kiev show willingness to improve relations, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“We definitely hope that Ukraine will sooner or later show at least weak political willingness to improve relations with Russia. We don’t see it at the moment,” he said, when asked whether Moscow expected retaliatory sanctions to change the Ukrainian authorities’ position.

Russia may remove retaliatory sanctions against Ukraine in case relations between the two countries improve, he added. When asked if Moscow could remove its sanctions on Kiev in case Ukraine lifted sanctions against Russia, Peskov said that it was possible. At the same time, the Russian presidential spokesman clarified conditions for the removal of Russia’s retaliatory restrictions. According to him, it may happen “if we reach a point in the near future where we start taking steps to improve ties and ease tensions in bilateral relations.”

The Kremlin believes that Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s inclusion in Russia’s sanctions lists would be beyond all reason.

“Presidents are traditionally not included in sanctions lists. It would be a move beyond all reason,” the Kremlin spokesman told journalists.

On November 1, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a government order implementing a presidential decree aimed at introducing “economic restrictions following Ukraine’s unfriendly actions towards Russian individuals and companies.” The document imposes restrictions on 322 Ukrainian individuals and 68 companies. The cabinet’s press service stressed that “the Russian government reserves the right to remove these special economic restrictions in case Ukraine lifts sanctions imposed on Russian citizens and entities.”

The Russian presidential spokesman pointed out that the government was implementing a presidential decree. At the same time, he stressed that “these are retaliatory sanctions.” “Russia did not initiate this exchange [of sanctions], our Ukrainian colleagues have been practicing it for a while this so we had to respond soon.” “These are reciprocal measures that Russia had to take in response to the steps that Ukraine had taken,” he noted. Peskov reiterated that “Russia did not initiate this kind of exchange of restrictions, Ukraine had imposed sanctions on a number of our companies and individuals. From the very beginning, we pointed out that reciprocal steps were inevitable,” he added.

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