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President says Russia sanctions should not hurt EU

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President Nicos Anastasiades has told Brussels that sanctions on Russia should not have a bigger impact on EU member states than on Moscow.

He took part in a videoconference on Monday, convened by European Council head Charles Michel with Swedish premier Magdalena Andersson, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Croatian premier Andrej Plenković.

The videoconference took place ahead of the extraordinary EU Council in Brussels on 30-31 May.

Government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said that Michel and the EU heads of states and governments discussed the situation in Ukraine and food security.

The President argued that diplomatic efforts should continue for a ceasefire and for conditions of peace and stability to return in Ukraine and the region.

Although sanctions on Russia will not be debated during EUCO, the President urged EU leaders to stay united in their stance and to keep supporting measures that will lead to the end of the Ukraine war.

He said sanctions should be well thought out and lead to pressure on Russia and not have greater fiscal consequences on EU states dependent on Russian energy.

Also on the agenda of the videoconference was the EU’s defence industry competitiveness and cooperation between member states in the armaments sector.

Anastasiades said Cyprus supports all efforts and steps that would lead to the EU’s strategic autonomy.

On food crisis and security due to the Ukrainian war, the President called for support to the agriculture sector and expressed fears that might arise from wheat and grain shortages in Africa and countries of the Middle East.