Sanctions: Russia

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 20 January 2015.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities) 11:30, 20 January 2015

What recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in other EU member states on sanctions against Russia imposed in response to the situation in Ukraine.

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We had a long discussion on Russia at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels yesterday. I have also discussed Russia bilaterally with the 18 counterparts in the European Union that I have visited over the past six months. Sanctions are delivering a real cost to Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. The EU is clear and resolute in its determination to maintain them and the UK argues consistently and robustly for maintaining the pressure on Russia until it delivers on its obligations under the Minsk agreement.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities)

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. Has he had a discussion with his Russian counterpart to make it clear that there is another path that Russia could follow in Ukraine by ceasing support for the Russian nationalist rebels, which could pave the way for the lifting of the sanctions?

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I do not have direct action with my Russian counterpart on Ukraine, because we handle this issue through EU channels, but I have spoken to him on the margins of E3 plus 3 meetings on Iran. The Russians are well aware of what they have to do to see the sanctions removed and the EU is keen to be able to reduce sanctions at the earliest opportunity, but only when Russia comes into compliance with its obligations.