EU prolongs economic sanctions against Russia

EPA-EFE//ROMAN PILIPEY

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint, outside the pro-Russian held city of Debaltseve, site of one of the heaviest battles of the war.

EU prolongs economic sanctions against Russia


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The European Union has extended its targeted economic sanctions against Russia for its ongoing role as both a supporter and participant in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, which included an incident in the Kerch Strait in November that saw the Russian Navy attack and seize three Ukrainian vessels as they passed through international waters on their way to the Black Sea.

“EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in the implementation of Minsk agreements,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted shortly after the decision was made.

The sanctions mainly target the Russian banking and energy sectors. They were first imposed in the summer of 2014 and have been extended every six months since that time as a response to Moscow’s failure to fully implement the Minsk Accords, a series of agreements between the warring factions and the EU which called for a de-escalation of the war and a return of areas captured by Russia’s forces to the Ukrainian government in Kyiv.

In its statement, the EU condemned Russia’s continued combat operations in the Donbass, the eastern Ukrainian region that borders southern Russia. “There is no justification for the use of military force by Russia,” the EU said, adding “the European Council requests the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen as well as the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait [between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea].”

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