Ambassadors from the European Union member states have agreed to prolong until 2016 the bloc’s punitive measures against Russia over its alleged involvement in Ukraine’s crisis.
On Wednesday, the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives reached an agreement on extending bloc’s economic sanctions against Moscow by six more months, Russia’s Interfax news agency said, citing EU diplomatic source.
Envoys from the 28 EU member states reached a “consensus” on the legal text mandating the extension of the sanctions from July up until the end of January next year, European sources said, according to AFP. The document is expected to be submitted for formal approval by EU foreign ministers next Monday.
Russia has been the target of several rounds of sanctions by the US and EU, which accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in east Ukraine. Russia has categorically denied the allegation.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev started military operation in the regions in April 2014 in a bid to crush the protests.
Violence intensified last May after the two regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.
The crisis so far has claimed the lives of at least 6,400 people, according to UN figures.
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