Thursday, March 9 2017 17:19 EET
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Ukraine and five Eastern European countries ask U.S. not to remove sanctions from Russia
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Diplomats from six Eastern European states, including Ukraine, made a plea to U.S. senators to help in the confrontation with Russia.

As noted by Reuters, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, as well as the Ambassadors of Poland, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia came to hearings of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.

They urged the U.S. not to lift sanctions from Russia in the near future. "Until Russia withdraws from the Ukrainian territory, there should not be any easing of sanctions. If anything, they need to be strengthened," Klimkin said. Other diplomats agreed with the Minister, and in turn told the Senators about attempts to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas.

Senator Lindsay Graham convened the hearings amid fears that the new U.S. president, Donald Trump, could soften policy towards Russia, including the removal of sanctions imposed as a response to the illegal annexation of the Crimea by Russia.

Graham believes that the protection of Eastern Europe serves the interests of the U.S. itself. "The safer you are, the safer we will be," said Graham.

Recall that the first U.S. sanctions against Russia were introduced in March 2014 against individual Russian officials involved in the illegal annexation of the Crimea. Those individuals on the list were banned from entering the United States, and their assets in the country were frozen. Subsequently, the U.S. repeatedly expanded the sanctions list and included not only individuals, but also entire branches of the Russian economy.

Earlier  Russia alerts military units in occupied Crimea

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