EU extends sanctions against Russia for six months

European Union foreign ministers formally agreed Monday to extend economic sanctions against Russia for an additional six months in response to the country’s role in neighboring Ukraine.

The move came during a meeting of the 28-member bloc’s foreign ministers in Luxembourg.  EU envoys had preliminarily approved the measure last week.

The sanctions target Russia’s energy, defense and financial sectors and have been in place since July 2014, some four months after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.  They will now run through January 31, 2016.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said last week that Russia would respond “on the principle of reciprocity” after the extension was formalized.  Analysts said that could mean a further ban on European food imports.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kodijancic said on Twitter that the extension was done “with a view to complete implementation of [the] Minsk agreements.”

That cease-fire plan signed in February by Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France calls, in part, for the withdrawal of all heavy weapons and foreign fighters from eastern Ukraine.  Observers say the agreement has been repeatedly violated.


(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)