June 19, 2020 / 3:24 PM / 22 days ago

EU leaders agree to extend economic sanctions against Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders agreed on Friday to extend until the end of January next year their economic sanctions against Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and the turmoil in eastern Ukraine.

The EU hit Russia’s energy, financial and arms sectors over Moscow’s role in the conflict in Ukraine, and prolonged them repeatedly as the Kremlin vows not to return the peninsula to Kyiv and a frozen conflict has taken hold in Ukraine’s east.

An EU leaders’ summit on Friday agreed to “proceed with the rollover of the sanctions” for another six months from the end of July, said the meeting chairman, Charles Michel.

Kyiv welcomed the move, saying there should be no respite in sanctions for as long as the stalled peace deal for east Ukraine - called the Minsk agreements - is not honoured.

“Since 2014, EU sanctions policy has helped deter Russian aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions send a clear signal: Russia needs to fully implement Minsk agreements,” said Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alex Richardson

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