EU Extends Sanctions on Russia
EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to back the extension of economic measures imposed on Russia until June of next year.
This is a six-month addition to measures which would have otherwise expired at the and of January 2016.
EU has extended economic sanctions against Russia until 31 January 2016, with a view to complete implementation of Minsk agreement.— Susanne Kiefer (@Susanne_Council) June 22, 2015
Announcing the news on Twitter, EU Foreign Affairs Council Press Officer Susanne Kiefer wrote the decision was taken "with a view to complete implementation of the Minsk agreement."
In February, Kiev and Donbass pro-Russian militants from self-proclaimed "People's Donetsk Republic" and "People's Luhansk Republic" struck an accord brokered by Russia, Germany, and France to end hostilities and initiate a peace process that is to be completed within the next two years.
Economic and financial measures voted last year are targeting members of the political elite, but also of Russian President Vladimir Putin's so-called "inner circle". They also include asset freezes and transaction bans relating to key companies in Russia's energy, defense, and banking sectors.
The reason for restrictions being enforced with regard to Russia is the country's move to incorporate the Crimean Peninsula into its territory, as well as its alleged involvement in the unrest in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region.
Moscow, which maintains sanctions are "counterproductive" and denies involvement in Eastern Ukraine, imposed last year "countermeasures" including a one-year ban on food imports from the EU and several other Western allies.
In a Foreign Ministry statement prior to the EU ministers' decision, Russia called the measures "discriminatory".
Last week EU officials hinted they might move to continue with the measures.
Russian government officials are quoted by Lenta.ru as saying they were "ready" for such a development.
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