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1ST LEAD EU agrees to extend economic sanctions against Russia by six months By Emoke Bebiak, dpa

Europe
14.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Brussels (dpa) - EU leaders agreed on Thursday to extend economic sanctions against Russia for six months over the country‘s role in the Ukraine conflict.

"EU united on roll-over of economic sanctions on Russia," European Council President Donald Tusk posted on Twitter.

The sanctions were first adopted in July 2014 in light of Russia‘s annexation of Ukraine‘s Crimea peninsula and its support for separatists in the country‘s east.

The European Union has tied easing the sanctions to Russia implementing the Minsk peace agreement, which calls for an unconditional ceasefire and for both sides to pull heavy weapons from the frontline in eastern Ukraine.

Before the vote, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said the sanctions would "of course" be extended "because nothing happened" in terms of Russia fulfilling the Minsk agreement.

The restrictive measures target the financial, energy and defence industries, impeding Russian banks‘ access to EU markets and limiting Russian access to certain EU imports.

The decision on extending the sanctions comes just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin used a three-hour televised press conference to reinforce his reputation as the country‘s guarantor of stability.

Putin also insisted that there is no Russian army presence in eastern Ukraine.

According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict that started in 2014.

 

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