European Union agrees to extend sanctions against Russian Federation

Andrew Cummings
December 16, 2017

EU leaders have given a go-ahead for further extension of economic sanctions against Russian Federation for another six months after the Christmas, a European diplomatic source said after a Brussels summit on Thursday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on December 15 described the sanctions as "illegal and unjust" and said Russia "did not consider such decisions beneficial to either European Union member states or the Russian Federation".

The decision to roll sanctions over came after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefed the other European Union leaders on the state of the Minsk accord.

The EU, along with the United States, has hit Moscow with sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014 and for its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 10,300 people since its start in April 2014.

Merkel told reporters afterwards the leaders had had an "intense discussion" on sanctions.

The EU-brokered Minsk peace agreement, backed by Moscow and Kiev, was first reached in late 2014 and then re-worked in early 2015 but is violated nearly daily. Bulgaria will not take a final position on the issue of sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said in Brussels, quoted by the press service of the government.

In her words, three years have passed since the Minsk agreements but there has been no shift in their implementation.

Thursday's sanctions extension will be given formal legal approval in the coming weeks.

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