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PM for EU to preserve current anti-Russia sanctions

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Prague, Oct 20 (CTK) – Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka wants the EU to preserve the current form of its anti-Russia sanctions until progress is reached in solving the conflict in east Ukraine, and he would not back their toughening if proposed at the upcoming summit, as he has no study of such step’s impact, he said on Thursday.

Talking to members of the lower house committee for European affairs, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the adoption of the sanctions was not easy for the Czech Republic, which is aware of their negative impact on the national economy.

At the same time, however, Prague wants to act in a way to secure the EU’s united approach to Russia and Ukraine, which is the only path for it to enforce respect, Sobotka said.

“It is clear that the [lifting of the] sanctions must remain tied with the fulfilment of the Minsk agreement,” Sobotka said.

He said he can imagine their softening or lifting if a marked progress were made in fulfilling the agreement aimed to terminate the conflict in Ukraine.

Sobotka said he has no information about anyone going to propose lifting the sanctions at the EU summit to be held on Thursday and on Friday.

The documents prepared for the summit debate do not mention any toughening of the sanctions either, Sobotka said.

He said he cannot imagine anyone proposing such a step directly at the summit and expecting its approval in a situation where no preliminary analysis of its economic impacts exists.

If such a proposal were made, Sobotka would not support it, he said.

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