Friday 20 March 2015

EU rules out automatic extension of anti-Russia sanctions

EU leaders have failed to reach a consensus on the automatic extension of Russian sanctions which are due to expire in July.
European Council President Donald Tusk announced that the decision will be linked to the full implementation of Minsk agreement.

“The duration of economic sanctions will be clearly linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreement,” Tusk told a news conference following the first working session of the summit in Brussels.
“We have to maintain our sanctions until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented,” he reiterated, hinting that sanctions might be extended until the end of 2015 – a deadline for some of the Ukraine ceasefire agreement provisions.
Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel confirmed that any decision on further anti-Russia sanctions depends on the situation in Ukraine, and whether it develops positively or negatively.

The Minsk agreement envisaged (among more urgent points on the de-escalation of violence) political reform in Ukraine to ensure decentralization and a special status for its rebel provinces. It requires Ukraine to adopt legislation which would provide permanent privileges to the Lugansk and Donetsk Regions, currently self-declared republics, by the end of 2015.
Last year, the European Union followed the line of the United States, imposing sanctions on Russia in several separate rounds, but it later found them to be causing increasing difficulties for its own constituent economies, which rely heavily on Russian energy supplies.

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