EU rolls over Russia sanctions over Ukraine turmoil: EU President
EU leaders extended punishing economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine for another six months yesterday, amid heightened tensions between Kiev and Moscow over their Azov Sea clash.
"EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in the implementation of Minsk agreements," EU President Donald Tusk tweeted from a summit in Brussels.
Here are the details.
EU rolls over Russia economic sanctions: Tusk
Sanctions target whole sectors of Russian economy including oil businesses
The EU first imposed the measures in July 2014 after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing 298 people, an attack blamed by the EU on pro-Russian rebels. The sanctions target whole sectors of the Russian economy including its valuable oil businesses.
EU-brokered Minsk peace agreement violated regularly, despite agreement
The EU-brokered Minsk peace agreement, backed by Moscow and Kiev, was first reached in late 2014 and then re-worked in early 2015 but is violated regularly.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict flared up again last month, when Russian forces seized three Ukrainian vessels and sailors, as they tried to pass through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
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NATO announced to help Ukraine combat Russia's 'destabilizing behavior'
The EU and NATO have condemned Russia over the incident, saying there was no justification for the violence, and demanded the sailors be freed. Yesterday, NATO announced that it would give Ukraine secure communications equipment by year end to help it combat Russia's "destabilizing behavior".
Government-rebels war in Ukraine has claimed over 10,000 lives
In the sector-wide economic sanctions, the EU also has measures in place targeting individuals and organizations over Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and in connection with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and rebels, backed by Moscow, has claimed more than 10,000 lives and rumbles on despite a series of periodic truce deals.
New measures would require unanimous support of all EU countries
Earlier this week the EU hit nine more people with sanctions over elections in the breakaway pro-Russian regions of Ukraine which were condemned as illegitimate by the international community. But the new measures would require the unanimous support of all the 28 EU countries.