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Iran Press TV

EU extends anti-Russia sanctions for six months

Iran Press TV

Fri Dec 21, 2018 06:48PM

The European Union has extended its anti-Russian sanctions for another six months after current sanctions expire on January 31, 2019.

The EU Council press service announced the decision on Friday.

"This decision follows an update from President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 13-14 December 2018 on the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which the sanctions are linked," read the statement.

The press release stated that the sanctions had been unanimously reinstated "given that no progress has been made" on implementing the Minsk agreements.

The Minsk agreements refer to two ceasefire agreements signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in September 2014 and February 2015 aiming to alleviate the ongoing war between Kiev and pro-Russian forces in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.

Since then, however, both parties have on numerous occasions accused each other of breaking the cessation of hostilities and failing to implement the agreements.

The sanctions, which were originally introduced after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Donbass region, target Russia's financial, energy and defense sectors.

The EU, which blamed pro-Russian fighters for the incident, enforced anti-Russian economic sanctions on July 31, 2014 and has renewed them ever since.

Moscow has, however, strongly denied the accusations, presenting its own evidence pointing blame at Kiev for the downed flight.

The EU, however, claims the sanctions are a general response to "Russia's actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine."

In March 2015, the EU decided the sanctions could be lifted only after the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Ukraine crisis has left almost 10,000 people dead and over 23,000 others injured, according to the latest figures provided by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

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