President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that Russia pays a high economic price for its aggressive foreign policy. He expressed this conviction in an interview with Rheinische Post.
"Sanctions are the only non-military instrument available to press the aggressor in the current situation, and it's not about punishing Russia. The goal is to keep Putin at the negotiating table, and in this sense sanctions are very effective," Poroshenko said.
He added that without sanctions, Russian President Putin would not be engaged in the Normandy process, designed to find a peaceful solution. "Now Russia is paying a high economic price for its aggressive foreign policy, and Putin's popularity has also suffered because of this," the president believes.
Poroshenko also commented on the discussions among European governments on the possibility of lifting sanctions as soon as possible, in particular, discussions in the Italian government. "To this, Putin made a bid from the very beginning - that the Europeans' united position on this issue will fail, he hoped that after the presidential elections of 2017, France, under the influence of the right-populist National Front, would surrender positions in the issue of sanctions - in vain. Then he hoped for the growth of AdG positions in Germany (the party "Alternative for Germany") and the completion of the Cadence of Angela Merkel, to finally get rid of the sanctions, "he said.
The president stressed that so far Putin's calculations have not worked and Europe has preserved unity. "And for this we are infinitely grateful to our European friends," Poroshenko added.
As reported earlier, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that he was in favor of a revision of the European sanctions system against Russia.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump signed a decree on tightening sanctions against the Russian Federation due to aggression against Ukraine.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump said he would consider lifting sanctions from Russia if it "takes steps towards Ukraine and Syria." It was also reported that the US imposed new sanctions against the Russian Federation because of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia.