No relaxation of sanctions without lasting peace in Ukraine: the EU sends this message to Moscow shortly before Christmas. The consequences for the EU economy are accepted.

The EU’s economic sanctions against Russia are extended by six months due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. This is what the heads of state or government of the European Union agreed on Thursday evening in Brussels, a spokesman for President Charles Michel of the EU Council announced. The EU last extended its trade and investment restrictions until January 31, 2021 in June, despite billions in losses for domestic companies. They are now valid until the end of July next year.

In the conflict in eastern Ukraine, government forces and Russian-backed separatists have been facing each other since 2014. A new ceasefire is currently in force. However, he has already been injured several times. The UN estimates that more than 13,000 people have died since the conflict broke out.

Sanctions cost Russia billions

Under the current EU resolution, Russia can only hope that the economic sanctions will be lifted once the agreements of the so-called Minsk peace plan have been fully complied with. By linking the sanctions to the plan, the EU states want to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to use more of his influence on the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine to resolve the conflict.

According to diplomats, experts believe the sanctions have already cost Russia billions. But the European economy is also hit, as the punitive measures make it more difficult for many EU companies to trade with Russia and Moscow has in return imposed import bans on Western agricultural products such as fruit and meat.

The EU sanctions were introduced after the crash of a Malaysian plane with 298 people over eastern Ukraine in July 2014. It was investigated whether it had been shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

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