The European Union yesterday announced its decision to extend anti-Russia sanctions until the end of July 2017. Europe adopted these sanctions which are targeted at specific sectors of the economy in July 2014 as part of the European reaction to “Russia’s practices that are causing instability in Ukraine” and after a Malaysian passenger plane crashed over eastern Ukraine in July of the same year.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Francois Hollande announced last week that they wanted to extend sanctions “because Moscow does not respect its obligations relating to the truce in Ukraine”. They also said that no progress had been made in implementing the Minsk Protocol in which Germany and France were mediators and that “Therefore there is no other option but to keep the measures in place”.
In September of the same year, the European Union imposed sanctions on the financial services, energy, and defence industries. Sanctions were also imposed on dual-use industrial sectors that produce goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
In addition to the economic measures that target Russian oil and the financial and military sectors, the European Union has also implemented a separate set of sanctions that include a travel ban and freezing the assets of Ukrainian and Russian figures that undermine the unity of Ukrainian territory. These sanctions end next March and similar sanctions that were imposed on Russia because of its annexation of Crimea will end on the 20th of June 2017.