The leaders of the European Union at a summit in Brussels agreed on a political decision to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months, reported RIA Novosti citing a source in the EU structures.
“We held a short discussion on the subject of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the Minsk agreements, the outcome was the agreement to extend the sanctions for another six months,” the source said.
The EU imposed restrictive economic measures against Russia in the summer of 2014 on the background of the conflict in Ukraine and later expanded them. In March of 2015, EU leaders have tied their action to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In December, the EU Council extended sanctions until 31 July 2018.
In the recent time in the West clearly there are opinions about the need to abolish the restrictive measures. In particular, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday that anti-Russian sanctions should not be renewed automatically.
Previously, Conti has expressed a willingness to work towards lifting the sanctions against Moscow. According to him, Russia plays a key role in resolving many international crises and it is wrong to disengage from a dialogue with her.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to domestic conflict or subject of the Minsk agreements on the settlement. Russia responded to European sanctions, has embarked on import substitution and repeatedly indicated that talking to her in the language of sanctions is counterproductive.