EU extends anti-Russian sanctions by six months

EU extends anti-Russian sanctions by six months

The Council of the European Union officially prolonged economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of Russia’s economy by six months until January 31, 2018, according to a statement published on Wednesday.

"This decision follows an update from French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the European Council of June 22-23, 2017 on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. This paved the way for the renewal of sanctions for a further six months," the statement says.

"The Council formalised this decision today by written procedure and, in line with the rule for all such decisions, unanimously," it reads.

The latest step is of a purely technical procedure: the political decision on prolonging sanctions was taken at the EU summit on June 22. Last time, the anti-Russian economic sanctions were extended in January 2017 until July 31.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said that the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union cannot help Brussels achieve its goals in relations with Moscow.

"It has long been clear to everyone that sanctions are counterproductive, that they are not able to tackle any tasks assigned by the European Union in terms of its relations with Russia," he noted. "Independent EU experts have repeatedly provided figures showing that the sanctions and our countermeasures affect, above all, the economies of the EU member-countries," TASS cited him as saying.

"Of course, the extension of the sanctions cannot cause feelings other than regret. The aggressive majority in the EU is again running the show," the diplomat added.

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of European Cooperation Andrey Kelin said that the EU restrictive measures against Russia have not reached their goal.

"The sanctions did not reach the aims for which they were intended, they did not change Russia’s foreign policy and had no influence on the situation with the Ukrainian crisis,"  Kelin stressed.