Tuesday 25 July 2017 | 11:52

EU extends sanctions against Russia for another 6 months at the least

20.06.2016  |  In the World
EU extends sanctions against Russia for another 6 months at the least

Gradual thaw has not been planned yet.

"The European Council (of member states) has extended until June 23, 2017, the restrictive measures adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia," a statement said.

The Crimea sanctions prohibit certain exports and imports, and ban investment and tourism services by EU-based companies there.

Let us recall that the sanctions were imposed after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

EU diplomatic sources say the economic sanctions will likely be extended for another six months from end-July on the grounds that Russia has failed to live up to its commitments to the Minsk ceasefire accord in eastern Ukraine, AFP informs.

At the same time, some EU member states led by Italy make the case that Russia is a neighbour and its help and cooperation is needed in tackling key shared problems, such as the Islamic State terror threat.

For its part, Russia says the sanctions regime is pointless if damaging, and President Vladimir Putin regularly insists Crimea will never be given back.

On Friday, Putin told a top economic forum in Saint Petersburg he was ready for a fresh start -- if the EU also played its part.

"We hold no grudge and are willing to reach out to our European partners but obviously this can't be a one-sided game," Putin said, stressing that it was the EU's introduction of sanctions which had led to the "collapse" in relations.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker made his first visit to Russia this week since the sanctions were imposed, telling Putin that there could be no lifting of sanctions until the Minsk deal was honored.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko meanwhile said he welcomed the EU's decision to roll over the Crimea sanctions.

"We will continue fighting until Russia frees Ukraine's Crimea and Ukraine's Donbas," Poroshenko said on Facebook, referring to the rebel-controlled areas of his country.

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