EU extends economic sanctions against Russia
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) welcomes the European Council’s decision following a Summit of the European Union (EU) on 13 December 2018 in Brussels, Belgium, to extend economic sanctions against the Russian Federation for additional six months until 31 July 2019 due to the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
“EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in implementation of Minsk agreements,” EU President Donald Tusk wrote on his Twitter on the summit day. In his remarks, Donald Tusk also called on the Russian Federation to release immediately all detained Ukrainian seamen and stop interfering with the freedom of navigation through the Kerch Strait.
The prolonged sanctions will continue the EU’s restrictions on commercial activity in the financial, energy and defense sectors, and the area of dual-use goods in the Russian Federation.
The EU first imposed the measures on 31 July 2014 after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed by the Russian military over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The sanctions have since been renewed every six months. The restrictive measures are linked to the progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which were first reached in autumn 2014 and then re-negotiated in February 2015, but are not respected by the Russian Federation.
On 31 July and 10 December 2018 respectively the EU added six additional individuals to the sanctions list for the construction of the Kerch bridge and nine others for their involvement in the fake elections in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which the EU considers as illegal and illegitimate.
“The Ukrainian World Congress welcomes the extension of economic sanctions by the European Council and calls on the EU to introduce further sanctions against Russia’s banking and energy sectors,” stated UWC President Paul Grod. “Russia continues to test the international community and tear-away at Ukraine’s economy and sovereignty by asserting control over the maritime spaces around Crimea and dramatically restricting maritime access to strategic Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.”