Sanctions on Russia can be lifted ‘at any time’

Even as both the EU and Russia renewed sanctions against each other, the French prime minister argued the measures are not permanent and could be removed swiftly, in a possible signal to Washington.

“We know that sanctions are not a permanent regime, but a state that can be canceled at any time,” PM Eduard Philippe said on Monday after meeting his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Le Havre.

The meeting was taking place shortly after Moscow extended its counter-embargo against the EU by another six months, in response to last week’s decision by the EU to keep its anti-Russia sanctions in place.

Claims that dialogue between France and Russia is insufficient “do not correspond to reality,” Philippe said, adding that relations between the two countries go beyond just their governments.

“Our countries sometimes share a common position, sometimes positions are somewhat different, and there are also issues where we have major differences,” the French PM said.