EU to Prolong Sanctions against Russia
The European Union prolonged its sanctions against Russia for another six months with no changes to the list.
The extension of anti-Russian sanctions until June 31, 2016 was agreed upon by the envoys of the EU member-states in Brussels on Friday. Formally, the decision is scheduled to become final at noon on December 21, unless any of the member states raises objection.
Early before the decision, EU President Donald Tusk said that he expected the sanctions to be prolonged.
"This will be the direct consequence of the March European Council conclusion, according to which the duration of the restrictive measures against the Russian Federation should be clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements," Tusk wrote in a letter addressing the leaders of the EU countries.
However, the motion was passed by the EU leaders at the summit in Brussels on Friday without any debate or discussion, according to a source close to the EU Council.
For his part, Russian Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukaev said Moscow was not surprised by the move, adding that it would not affect Russia's economy."That was an expected decision; we have not heard anything new. This will by no means affect Russia's economy," Ulyukaev stated.
Relatively, Italy had initially delayed the decision, demanding the issue of sanctions be talked over rather than just rubber-stamped, as it "deserved a political discussion."
Meanwhile, more and more European politicians became increasingly skeptical about the sanctions, pointing out that they have proven to be politically ineffective and economically harmful for both Russia and European countries.In the context, a French lawmaker, Thierry Mariani, even drafted a resolution calling for the lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions and presented it to his country\'s parliament.
The sanctions were imposed on Russia by the EU in August of 2014 over the country's alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, as well as its reunification with Crimea.
The sanctions, which target Russia's financial, energy, and defense sectors, as well as some government officials, businessmen, and public figures, have been repeatedly broadened and extended since then.Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team