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EU extends sanction against Russia

During an EU meeting yesterday a unanimous decision was made to extend the sanctions against Russia. The extension is for six months. The sanctions were put in place in 2014 due to the Russian involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea. Earlier this week the sanctions against the Crimea were already extended. Despite various Minsk accords and talks they were unable to improve the situation in the east of the Ukraine.

The fact that the vote for an extension was unanimous was striking. Previously, when the EU had to make a decision about this, there were calls from various countries to stop the sanctions or to seek other ways to economically approach Russia.

Donald Tusk.

During a press conference German chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out the attempts to achieve a ceasefire in the east of the Ukraine. "Unfortunately we have to admit that little progress has been seen. The ceasefire is constantly broken." There is no official response from Russia yet. Various politicians did respond negatively to the decision. They say Russia isn't involved in the conflict and that the Ukraine is leading the EU on in an anti-Russia policy. 

According to experts the financial and economic sanctions by Europe on Russia are already costing the Russian economy billions of Euros. In response to the economic sanctions Russia closed its borders to fruit and vegetables, among other things, from the EU. This boycott still stands. Last year Russia extended the boycott to the end of 2017 after the EU extended the sanctions by half a year. Russia is expected to extend the boycott. This has happened repeatedly since 2014. An end to the boycott by the Kremlin is always linked to the sanctions from Europe being lifted. Europe has to take the first step, then Russia will follow, was the message.

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