EU extends Russia sanctions for six months

The European Union has renewed its economic sanctions against Russia for six months over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

The 28-member body extended the sanctions until July 31, 2016, as it assesses Russia’s adherence to a peace agreement in eastern Ukraine.

Despite signing a cease-fire deal earlier this year, Ukraine says it has still not gained control of its border with Russia.

The Russian parliament voted in March 2014 to annex Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula, just weeks after pro-Western Ukrainian protests in Kyiv forced Russia-leaning president Viktor Yanukovych from office.

Weeks later, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine launched a rebellion against Kyiv’s rule that triggered trade and travel sanctions against Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin.  Those sanctions were due to expire in January.

The United Nations has said that over 8,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict.


(Photo of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Parliament President Martin Schulz: EC Audiovisual Service)