EU extends anti-Russia sanctions over Ukraine
Iran Press TV
Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:12PM
The European Union has agreed to prolong economic sanctions against Russia for another six months over its alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
'On 21 December 2015, the Council prolonged EU economic sanctions against Russia until 31 July 2016,' the EU Council press service said in a communique in Brussels on Monday.
The 28-member bloc took the decision because the Minsk peace accords, which Russia signed up to, would not be completely implemented by the end of 2015 as required, it added.
'Since the Minsk agreements will not be fully implemented by 31 December 2015, the duration of the sanctions has been prolonged whilst the Council (of member states) continues its assessment of progress in implementation,' it said.
The sanctions, effective next January, will target the Russian energy, banking and military sectors until July 2016. Moscow has also imposed tit-for-tat sanctions against the EU.
The EU first imposed the sanctions against Russia in 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
The conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia fighters demanding greater autonomy following the overthrow of the country's former President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.
Moscow, however, denies any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
EU leaders, nevertheless, decided to renew the sanctions until the full implementation of the truce deal between Kiev and the pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
The truce deal, dubbed Minsk II, reached at a summit between the warring sides and attended by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on February 11 and 12 introduced measures such as a ceasefire, which officially went into effect on February 15, the pullout of heavy weapons, and constitutional reforms in Ukraine by the end of the year.
The shaky deal has, however, failed to end the deadly violence in the mainly Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine, with both sides trading accusations of breaching the ceasefire agreement.
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