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U.S. Says Sanctions On Russia Caused “Marginal” Damage On EU Economies

The United States Department of State said European Union economies have suffered losses due to sanctions placed against Russian businessmen and government figures, according to a statement made by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.

The official said the effect of the sanctions policy had been “marginal,” though the willingness and need to impose the measures outweighed the costs.

"Companies around the world, including in the United States, have born a burden of sanctions. Economies in Europe have not done as well as they otherwise might have as a result," Blinken remarked during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"We have demonstrated that we are willing to inflict some pain on ourselves in order to sustain and advance basic principles that need to be sustained and protected in order to protect the order we helped develop, and Ukraine is a good example," he added.

The EU Observer reported earlier this year that the sanctions had little to no effect on the Russian economy after a “one-off” blow in 2015.

In total, the Russian economy shrunk by four percent in 2015, mostly due to chronically low global oil prices and the costs of the invasion of Ukraine.

Related: Is Wall Street Right About Electric Utility Stocks?

Several rounds of sanctions since 2014 have targeted Russian nationals and key economic sectors. Initially imposed as an international response to the Russian annexation of Crimea, the measures later expanded to punish Russia for exacerbating the Ukraine crisis, according to NATO and its allies.

Russia has refuted claims that it had participated in the Ukraine crisis, and responded by implementing prohibitive export bans to selected EU members.

President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday the continuation of the country’s ban on food imports from Europe and a group of other countries until 31 December 2017.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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