EU leaders agree to extend sanctions against Moscow

The EU will extend sanctions against Russia for not applying the Minsk Agreement. [European Council]

EU leaders have agreed to extend sanctions against Moscow for another six months because of Russia’s failure to implement a peace deal for Ukraine, European Council President Donald Tusk said in a tweet on the first day of the 22-23 June EU Summit.

The EU’s sanctions against Moscow, first introduced in 2014, restrict the Russian banking sector’s access to international money markets and ban most arms trading with Russia, as well as the sale of some energy-related equipment and technology.

“This has yet to be formally approved but the political decision has been taken. There are no indications that any member state was strongly opposed today, so it will go through,” an EU diplomat told EURACTIV.

EU leaders hail ‘historic step’ in defence cooperation

EU leaders hailed as “historic” the decision taken at the Council summit on Thursday (22 June) to establish permanent European defence cooperation. French President Emmanuel Macron, for whom this is the first EU summit, praised Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for his role as architect of the project.

Earlier on Thursday (22 June), Tusk met Ukrainian President Pedro Poroshenko in Brussels. The two discussed the situation in Ukraine and the violations of the Minsk peace deal, which was agreed in 2015 to stop fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Italy, Greece and Hungary are among the EU countries that are softer on Russia. They have criticised sanctions, arguing that they are ineffective and cause harm to European businesses. Poland, Sweden and Baltic countries have pushed for a tougher stance.

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