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US urges Europe not to weaken on Russia sanctions

AFP  |  Brussels 

must not weaken its sanctions against Russia, a said Tuesday, warning that posed a "clear and present danger" to the West that was "getting worse and not better".

is pressing EU countries to maintain tough sanctions imposed on over the annexation of Crimea and the crisis, as Italy's pro-Kremlin government pushes the bloc to relax the pressure on

On a trip to last month, Italy's far-right denounced the "madness" of western sanctions against and launched a fierce attack on EU policy.

David Tessler, for the US Secretary of State, told reporters in that fresh sanctions against Moscow were under consideration over the nerve agent attack on former Russian agent in Britain.

Tessler said the success of sanctions against depended on close coordination with and he has been shuttling around European capitals for the last 18 months to press the case.

"Our sanctions must remain strong until we see the behaviour change in Moscow that we're all looking for," Tessler said.

"We do not believe in any relaxation of sanctions before there's full behaviour change, full implementation of Russian commitments." Tessler said he recently visited Austria, where the government is seen as more sympathetic to Moscow and whose danced with Russian at her wedding in the summer, and would travel to soon to lobby the government there.

As well as the crisis and the Skripal poisoning, Moscow is also accused of seeking to influence numerous elections around and the US through disinformation campaigns and of launching countless cyber attacks on various civilian targets.

Russia's cyber campaign hit the headlines last month when the foiled a plot by suspected Kremlin intelligence agents to hack the global in

Despite stinging US and European sanctions, Tessler said, believes that the threat from Russia is "getting worse and not better".

"It is for us not a theoretical debate that we can casually talk about -- it is a clear and present danger that the Russians pose that we are combating," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 23:20 IST