EU extends economic sanctions against Russia - policy

  • EU economic sanctions against Russia will be prolonged due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
  • The heads of state and government of the European Union agreed on Thursday at their summit in Brussels.
  • Experts assume, according to diplomats, that the sanctions have already cost Russia hundreds of billions.

EU economic sanctions against Russia will be renewed due to the ongoing Ukraine conflict. The European Union leaders agreed on Thursday at their summit in Brussels, as spokesman for Council President Donald Tusk confirmed this evening.

The EU had last extended the trade and investment restrictions in December 2018 until July 31, 2019 despite billions in losses for domestic companies. They are now to apply for another six months.

One reason for this is Russia's crackdown on Ukrainian naval ships late last year. At that time, the Russian Coast Guard had forcibly prevented two patrol boats and one tugboat from driving through the Straits of Kerch into the Sea of ​​Azov. The sailors were arrested and the ships confiscated. The EU has been calling for their unconditional release for months.

The lifting of sanctions is subject to conditions

In addition, Russia should not be able to hope for a lifting of economic sanctions until the agreements of the Minsk peace plan on the Ukraine conflict are completely fulfilled. By linking the sanctions to the peace plan, the EU states want to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to make greater use of his influence on the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to settle the conflict.

The EU sanctions were introduced after the crash of a Malaysian MH17 with 298 people on board over the eastern Ukraine in July 2014. The machine is said to have been shot down by pro-Russian separatists, according to western investigators.

Experts assume, according to diplomats, that the sanctions have already cost Russia hundreds of billions. However, the European economy is also suffering as punitive measures make it difficult for many EU companies to trade with Russia, while Moscow has imposed import bans on Western agricultural products such as fruit and meat.

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