EU prolongs sanctions for six months against Russia over Ukraine conflict

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The European Union on Thursday formally prolonged for six months economic sanctions against Russia over the country’s failure to live up to commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine.

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The measures target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes. They are part of a raft of sanctions the EU slapped on Russia in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and are tied to respect of the 2015 Minsk peace deal.

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“Given that the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented by Russia, EU leaders unanimously took the political decision to roll-over the economic sanctions against Russia” at a summit last week, the EU Council said in a statement formalizing the decision. The sanctions have been extended until July 31.

The move limits Russian bank and company access to EU capital markets, and outlaws financial assistance or brokering for Russian financial institutions. It halts all imports, exports or transfers of defense equipment, and limits Russia’s access to some “sensitive” technology used in oil production.

More than 14,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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