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 12-month extension of Russia sanctions would send a powerful message, - Rasmussen

Sanctions against the Russian Federation for its actions in Ukraine should be extended for at least another 12 months.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's former leader, said in an article for Financial Times, Censor.NET reports.

According to him, despite Europe's resolve until now, the reality is that Moscow remains largely unfazed. The Kremlin feels free to run parliamentary elections in a territory that is illegally under its control, he notes.

"Russia is playing at will with the security of its neighbors. In some cases, it even exports the same disruptive tactics through the domestic politics of western democracies. The reason for this is simple: it knows it can," Rasmussen observes.

See more: Italian lawmakers arrived in occupied Crimea despite ban by their government. PHOTO

"The sanctions regime agreed by EU leaders has done too little to deter Moscow. This is why, when they meet next week at the European Council to discuss relations with Russia, they should at the very least consider extending the term of existing sanctions for another 12 months instead of six," he noted.

According to Rasmussen, the tools available to the EU must be adapted to this new reality - especially as the six-month timeline is slowly becoming self-defeating. Every time sanctions have come up for renewal, the unity of European leaders has appeared a little weaker.

A longer timeframe for the sanctions would also have domestic political benefits in several EU states: it would remove the sanctions discussion from electoral campaigns, the expert remarks.

Read more: Sanctions against Russia yield no desired results, - White House

"Ultimately, a 12-month extension of the sanctions against Russia's actions in Ukraine would send a powerful message. It would demonstrate to those like President Vladimir Putin who challenge a rules-based order, that European governments, alongside the US, can still find the resolve to respond to the big challenges of our difficult decade," Rasmussen concludes.
 
 
 
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